Alaina Mui, MD ’22, PGY-2 in Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at USF Health, exemplifies the profound impact mentorship has on shaping the compassionate practice of medicine. Her narrative is a poignant testament to the influence of mentors in guiding trainees through pivotal moments in patient care.
During her medical intensive care unit rotation, Alaina encountered a critically ill man in his thirties battling metastatic gastric carcinoma and pneumonitis resulting from treatment. Aware that his journey was nearing its end, he expressed a singular wish — to reunite with his mother before his passing. Despite significant hurdles, including his mother being in Mexico without a visa, Alaina reflected on what her mentors, Drs. Erika Able and Elimarys Perez-Colon, would do in a similar situation. With that as her beacon, Alaina embarked on an arduous journey to facilitate the visa approval process for the patient’s mother. Through relentless dedication and the authorship of compelling support letters, she navigated bureaucratic obstacles. When the mother finally reached the border, she faced resistance. Undeterred, Alaina directly engaged with border agents, compellingly articulating the urgency of the situation. She emphasized that reuniting the patient with his mother was the most vital form of medicine he could receive.
Ultimately, the visa was granted, allowing the patient and his mother a brief but profoundly meaningful reunion before life support was withdrawn — a poignant and deeply touching conclusion in an otherwise tragic scenario.
This story underscores the transformative power of mentorship, guiding Alaina to act with unwavering empathy and advocacy, showcasing the importance of going above and beyond in patient care, even in the face of formidable challenges.