The incident took place five years ago, but it still reverberates for Julie
Weiner. At that time she was dating the man who would become her husband
and living at home with her Vietnamese immigrant parents. For the first
time since starting community college six months earlier, her younger
brother, Alan Tran, failed to come home for the weekend. Julie texted
Alan, who assured her he was fine.
But he wasn’t fine. On Friday night Alan had undergone a fraternity
hazing. The brothers used a wooden paddle to pummel Alan’s buttocks
with 150 sharp blows. Alan fainted in the bathroom that night and spent
the next two days passing in and out of consciousness. His fraternity
brothers brought him home Sunday evening. Alan, a sturdy bodybuilder and
basketball player, had shed 10 pounds over the weekend. His father thought
Alan might have the flu.
Over the next four days Alan could not eat, sleep or use the bathroom.
He grew paler and paler. By the following Friday, he had lost an alarming
30 pounds. That evening Julie’s father decided to take his son to
Torrance Memorial Medical Center, the hospital where both his children
were born and a place the family trusted.
Julie, working at a promotional event for her job, received a call from
her father. For the first time in her life, she heard her father cry.
He didn’t know if Alan would survive. Julie rushed to the hospital.
Even at this point, Alan had not revealed what happened to him at the
fraternity house. Julie coaxed the story from her brother and immediately
told the Emergency Room physician. That information, along with his exam,
alerted the doctors that Alan was suffering from kidney failure.
Alan was admitted to the ICU, where his doctors administered a variety
of treatments, including dialysis. After five days of unconsciousness,
Alan woke up. He then spent several weeks being treated in the Pediatric Unit.
Julie credits Alan’s nephrologist, David Bloom, MD, for not only
saving her brother’s life, but also for saving his spirit. “He
told Alan not to dwell on the past and to go on with his life. He said
Alan had a lot to live for.”
Since that time Julie reports, Alan has turned his life around, transferring
to California State University, Long Beach and majoring in business and
marketing. “Before, he had no direction, purpose or drive,”
she says. “He has blossomed into an amazing man.” Alan has
completely recovered physically as well, working out constantly and posting
videos of his workouts on social media.
The experience not only changed Alan, but also transformed Julie. She left
her marketing job to take a position at a nonprofit health organization
and started volunteering as an Escort at Torrance Memorial.
During Alan’s hospitalization, Julie says, she marveled at the “helpful,
friendly and reassuring” nature of Torrance Memorial’s nurses.
She and her parents, “felt like family whenever we walked in. It
was like coming home.”
Last summer Julie enrolled in an accelerated program at West Coast University
to earn a nurs- ing degree. “I was lost as well,” she says.
“Now I’m focused and driven. I hadn’t taken a science
class since high school, but I’ve uncovered a passion I never knew
She says her dream would be to come full circle by working as a nurse at
Torrance Memorial someday.
Wherever she ends up, Julie looks forward to doing for others what the
physicians and staff of the medical center did for her brother. Each day
she volunteers, Julie says, reminds her “how amazing the doctors
were to be able to fix him, heal him and bring him back to life so quickly.
It’s a testament to the people who work at Torrance Memorial and
how much they really care. We wouldn’t go anywhere else.”