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news News Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Tuesday, February 23, 2021 3:37 PM - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 3:37 PM

Care inspires patient's sister to pursue medicine

She is pursuing a career in plastic surgery

Care inspires patient's sister to pursue medicine

Lauren is an aspiring doctor studying pre-med at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her interest in medicine developed at a young age when she accompanied her sister on appointments to the Boston Shriners Hospital. Lauren’s older sister became a patient in 2000.

Lauren has powerful memories of the time she spent with her mother and sister at the Boston Shriners Hospital, as she accompanied them throughout her entire childhood for more than 15 years. “I loved sitting in the waiting room and playing with all the little toys and gadgets that were provided. Most of all, however, some of my greatest memories were interacting with some of the other children,” she said.

In 2015, Lauren’s sister participated in a Boston Shriners Hospital study exploring the effect of laser treatment on burn scars. “This was a really cool thing to witness because at this point, I was already really interested in all types of plastic surgery. After seeing the results, I knew that I wanted to invest more time into learning about treatments like this because I had such a close emotional connection to it,” Lauren said. She recalled some difficult times her sister went through, when other children and even sometimes adults made her feel uncomfortable about her scars. “I just knew that I wanted to help people like my sister for the rest of my life,” she said.

Lauren recently connected with Branko Bojovic, M.D., chief of plastic surgery, for a research project she was working on about Shriners Hospitals for Children. Dr. Bojovic is a skilled plastic surgeon with expertise in adult and pediatric craniofacial surgery and microsurgery.

Lauren shared her family’s story with Dr. Bojovic, highlighting the history behind her interest in pursuing plastic surgery. She described her interaction with him as “absolutely wonderful.”

Dr. Bojovic took time to share his experiences and background with Lauren. “He told me how he had gotten into medical school when he was only a sophomore in college, which I didn’t even know was possible! I seriously aspire to be like Dr. Bojovic, for he is so kind, intelligent and interesting,” she said.

When Lauren accompanied her mother and sister to the Boston Shriners Hospital for clinic appointments and procedures, she always found that observing the other children was fascinating. “The more time I spent at Shriners and the variety of injuries that I observed, the more I knew that I wanted to learn more about the role plastic surgery plays in the care and treatment of burn wounds. When I was about 13, I started watching videos of plastic surgery procedures on YouTube. I still watch videos of procedures like that in my free time,” she said.

Lauren is grateful for the care her sister received at the Boston Shriners Hospital. Lauren’s mother was pregnant with her when her sister was injured. “My mother went through everything with my sister, including riding to Mass General with her in a helicopter, living in Boston for months on end, and attending every single appointment and procedure, all while taking care of my two older brothers and being pregnant with me! Having something so tragic happen to a family member is very difficult, as you can imagine. Shriners saved my sister’s life. It is an amazing organization in so many ways,” Lauren said.

When she is not researching the role that plastic surgery plays in burn care, Lauren enjoys going to the gym and spending time with her family. She also loves her dogs!  Lauren’s goal for her undergraduate years is to prepare for medical school by seeking as much hands-on learning as she can through internships and volunteer opportunities. Lauren learned a lot at the Boston Shriners Hospital while accompanying her sister and mother on appointments. Those experiences led Lauren to seek a career in medicine.

Lauren, Christine, Julia

Pictured: (top right, from left to right) Lauren, Christine (mom), Julia (sister) (above, from left to right) Christine (mom), Lauren, Julia (sister),