Last year, Trevecca alumni Chad Hitchcock took his family on a vacation to the happiest place on earth: Disney World. He, his wife and his young children were looking forward to a week of breakfasts with Mickey Mouse, days in the park and afternoons by the resort swimming pool.
Hitchcock loves his work—he is a physician assistant in cardiology at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville—but it was the last thing on his mind as he settled into vacation mode with his family.
For one park-goer, however, the Hitchcock family’s vacation was timed perfectly.
“We had just finished dinner at Chef Mickey’s and were going back to our hotel when we turned the corner and saw a security guard standing over a lady who was in a wheelchair. She was obviously in respiratory and cardiac distress, and my wife motioned for me to get over there,” Hitchcock recalled.
When he caught up, Hitchcock took the woman’s pulse—it was flat. So, he said he did what any health care provider would do and got to work. He began doing chest compressions, and after a few seemingly-endless minutes, Hitchcock said the woman started to regain consciousness.
Soon after, the paramedics arrived to take over.
“I don’t see that particular situation often,” Hitchcock said. “In fact, I’ve probably only performed CPR on three people since I’ve been a provider. It was a really powerful experience though. I felt I did what God called me to do."
“To be in that right place at that right time, it was really cool,” Hitchcock continued. “I know it was all God. After, I just kind of walked away exhausted, but I was grateful to know she was in good hands.”
Hitchcock graduated from Trevecca with a bachelor’s in biology in 2009 and again in 2011 from Trevecca’s Physician Assistant program. Though he initially wanted to go into pediatrics, he said working in a urologist’s office after finishing his undergraduate degree helped point him in the right direction.
“Growing up, I was always really emotional and compassionate, and I always wanted to help others. My parents always said growing up that I was going to be a politician because I was always the one to smile and shake hands with older people and hold the babies,” he said. “I knew I loved people and that my calling was to do something with people. I thought for a long time that I wanted to be a pediatrician, but in rotations, I changed my mind—it’s interesting how God leads you to where you need to be.”
Hitchcock said in moments of high stress like that evening at Disney, the best thing to do is trust what you know.
“Trevecca did an excellent job of training us. They prepared us for so much. Of course when you’re in the real world and you first start seeing patients on your own, that transition is going to be scary, but the Lord definitely calms you down and you get into a flow,” Hitchcock said.
“From an early age, I knew this is what God called me to do. It’s been a big comfort knowing that God is with me throughout everything, and it really makes me feel thankful for everybody along the way. The prayers that my grandparents and parents prayed for my life, those lead you to certain situations, and I know I am where I am today because of God and because of the people that supported me along the way.”
Read more about how you can make a difference in your community as a graduate of Trevecca's PA program: Trevecca.edu/PA.