Micah loves playing hockey as much as he loves playing the cello.
Micah Goldblum is 13 now, a good student, an avid hockey player, a gifted cellist thriving in an arts magnet school.
Each evening he takes his cello from its case and puts in the long hours of practice that transform natural talent into remarkable skill. There is a routine to this work that is, in its way, comforting. But, when Micah was 5 years old, all routine, all normality was shattered. Suffering from flu-like symptoms for several days, Micah suddenly experienced very shallow breathing.
His parents, recognizing the grave danger, rushed him to Sinai’s ER-7. In less than an hour, unable to breathe on his own, Micah’s weak hold on life was sustained by one machine—a special ventilator—in Sinai’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Micah’s condition was not just critical, it was extremely complex medically. He had developed pneumonia, which triggered toxic shock syndrome, and then acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Dr. Aaron Zuckerberg, head of the PICU and a pediatric anesthesiologist, an expert in Micah’s condition, was one of only a handful of physicians in the country at the time with the knowledge to successfully utilize a neonatal ventilator in a child of Micah’s age. This knowledge saved Micah’s life.
But, Dr. Zuckerberg didn’t just exploit his expertise, he showed his fierce commitment to Micah and his family. Dr. Zuckerberg spent that entire first night in Micah’s room, sleeping on a windowsill, watching over Micah. That first night held the greatest threat, but Micah’s illness was severe, and he spent four weeks at Sinai. For two of those weeks he was in a medically induced coma to give his ravaged lungs time to heal.
Five years after Micah’s complete recovery, he invited Dr. Zuckerberg to participate in his bar mitzvah, and donated all of his gifts to Sinai’s PICU. He did it because he is an exceptional young man and because he and his family will never forget that night when Micah was tied to life by a single string—a string that was thin, but strong, woven of all of Sinai’s expertise and skill—and of all the knowing, caring people who wouldn’t let that string break.