When Chloé Woodington, MD, MPH, was nine years old, she lost her best friend and all the toes on her left foot in a rockslide accident during a family trip to Hawaii. Dr. Woodington, now 31, still vividly remembers the thunder of the incident that changed her life forever. “My mom had her right arm severely severed and my best friend, standing just feet away from me, died when she was covered by a boulder about the size of a car,” she recalls.

Dr. Woodington and her mom were flown to the nearest hospital where they both received the care and support they needed. Her mom’s arm was re-attached and Woodington’s toes were amputated. “It was my first real encounter with medicine,” she explained. “I remember the doctor telling me that I was going to be okay. His support throughout my surgery and recovery impacted me. I knew then that I wanted to become a doctor like him one day to extend to others the compassion and care that had been extended to me, and I have lived up to that promise.”

Dr. Woodington attended Davidson College in North Carolina and later returned to San Antonio, Texas, where her parents retired, to complete her medical school prerequisites at UTSA and earn her EMT-B license. Dr. Woodington was hired as an emergency department technician at Methodist Hospital where she worked alongside other emergency physicians. She said it was great hands-on experience and further solidified her commitment to emergency medicine. Soon after, she was accepted at the UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine, where she received a dual degree in the MD/MPH program. Currently, she is a chief resident in the Baylor College of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency program in Houston.

“I would not be where I am today without living through the rockslide,” she said.  “My experience has given me an immediate connection with patients and a different level of empathy and understanding. Like many of my patients, I experienced the worst day of my life as I sat in the ER wondering what would happen next.”

For most people, the experience would have been a life-altering setback, but Dr. Woodington used it to fuel her passion for emergency medicine. Dr. Woodington graduates June 23, and will continue living out her dream at Methodist Hospital. She is excited to use the compassion and empathy of her experience to heal patients.