Look for the Helpers – A Surgeon-in-Training’s Thoughts on the Orlando Shooting

16 Jun 2016

By Brittany Bankhead-Kendall

As events unfold and I wonder if some day my own trauma pager will have the words “mass casualty” on it, and on how sad that is, I am reminded of a great quote:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” -Fred Rogers

This is something that I try to teach my own child, and to remember myself. But when I begin to look around, for the helpers, I start to realize that I am the helper. We are the helpers.

To be the person running towards the smoke to help at the Boston marathon… To fly to the ends of the Earth to help the less fortunate with their spiritual or physical needs… To write a letter to the trauma staff in Orlando & remind them there was a country praying & thinking about the guiding of their hands amongst chaos… To stand in an hours long line to donate blood in a time of need, or to be the nurse who administers the blood, or the physician who orders the blood.

We grieve & we learn. But then, we unite & we help. And we hold our heads high, and live & love each other like we were born on this Earth to do. We do not let terrorism win.

Here’s to Orlando. Here’s to humanity. Here’s to the helpers. Here’s to us.

00-Brittany-Bankhead-KendallBrittany Bankhead-Kendall, M.Sc., M.D.  is a PGY2 general surgery resident at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan. She obtained her M.D. from Ross University School of Medicine, her M.Sc. from Barry University in Biomedical Science, and studied Biomedical Science and Spanish at Texas A&M University. She is currently completing a fellowship with the “Association of Surgical Education Surgical Education Research Fellowship” program and is the General Surgery representative for her local Graduate Medical Education Council. She plans to pursue a career in trauma/critical care, and acute care surgery. She enjoys clinical research in trauma and surgical education, and has presented her work at multiple regional & national conferences. In her personal time she enjoys spending time with her family and church, interior design, financial planning, and international travel.


Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *