I’m Dr. Herb Fred, and this is a story about Joseph Sleiman, a Frenchman and Me.
In 2001, Joseph was an intern and I was chief of the medical inpatient service at LBJ hospital. On May 11 of that year, Joseph autographed for me a best-selling book composed miraculously by a young Frenchman after a stroke had rendered him totally paralyzed from head to toe, unable to move or speak, but with mind intact. His only means of communication was blinking his left eyelid. The book was published two days before the Frenchman died, which was 6 months after his stroke.
Somehow, Joseph learned that my mother had died years earlier under circumstances identical to those of the Frenchman. Consequently, Joseph believed that I would treasure the book and appreciate the gesture. I certainly did.
In fact, Joseph is the only trainee among thousands who ever honored me with such a simple, yet memorable gift. His ongoing thoughtfulness, kindheartedness, generosity and humility make him an exemplary human being and an ideal role model for the medical profession.
Thank you and God speed,
Herbert L. Fred, MD, MACP, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, McGovern Medical School