On a summer night just after midnight, Kevin Morton Jr. was in his car after work when someone emerged from the shadows and shot him.
Morton was 22, a student at Oakland University and working at an Arby’s in Eastpointe that night in July 2007 when a bullet passed through his stomach, diaphragm, pancreas and two main blood vessels.
A few miles away, Dr. Dharti Sheth-Zelmanski was the trauma surgeon on duty at Detroit’s St. John Hospital when she got a page that a Code 1 trauma patient was arriving. She and other surgeons worked for hours to remove the bullet from Morton’s abdomen and stop the bleeding. One resident doctor told Morton’s father he wouldn’t live through the night.
But Morton survived five surgeries, 58 days in the hospital and more than a year of recovery, inspiring him to become a doctor and help others as Sheth-Zelmanski had helped him.