19 Years After Their Daughter Died, Parents Meet the Doctor Who Tried to Save Her Life

The cover of the book On Shattered Wings the story of a family's journey in overcoming grief to finding hope

Cover of the book On Shattered Wings

Lori Dultmeier giving a hug to the surgeon who tried to save her daughter 19 years ago

Lori Dultmeier and Dr. James Hamilton (March 2021)

Jim Dultmeier (right) presents a book about his family's grief journey to Dr. James Hamilton, the surgeon who tried to save Jim's daughter's life 19 years ago

Dr. James Hamilton and Jim Dultmeier

Lori and Jim Dultmeier present a book about their grief journey to the surgeon who tried to save their 19-year-old daughter

We did everything we could to save your daughter.”

— Dr. James Hamilton, MD

TOPEKA, KANSAS, UNITED STATES, April 1, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Jim and Lori Dultmeier lost their beloved 19-year-old daughter, Jennifer, in an automobile accident 19 years ago. On March 25, 2021, Jim and Lori met the surgeon who valiantly tried to save her life.

Dr. James Hamilton, Topeka, Kansas, did not know that Jim and Lori were coming by his office to present him with a copy of the book about their grief journey called On Shattered Wings.

When he learned who they were, Dr. Hamilton’s eyes filled with tears, just as they had years before.

Although 19 years had passed since that fateful night of October 26, 2002, Dr. Hamilton never forgot the scene in the hospital when he tried to save the life of a young woman who had been in a bad automobile accident.

Jennifer was the passenger in a car driven by her best friend since their childhood. Both girls had been at a party and had been drinking. Moments before the accident, Jennifer unbuckled her seat belt to locate a CD on the floor of the car. The car swerved, hit a culvert, and rolled. Jennifer was ejected from the vehicle. The driver was injured but eventually recovered.

Paramedics at the scene found Jennifer unconscious and not breathing. They were able to resuscitate her before transporting her to the hospital where the surgeon, Dr. Hamilton, was waiting. The physician and his team spent hours trying to save Jennifer. As a father himself, Hamilton knew he was facing a parent’s worst nightmare: the loss of their child.

Dr. Hamilton worked on Jennifer long after there was hope. Another doctor finally had to persuade him it was no use. Jennifer was gone. He dreaded what was to come: having to tell the young woman’s parents the news. Dr. Hamilton found Jim and Lori in the hospital waiting room with nearly two dozen of their family and friends that had gathered on short notice, in the middle of the night.

As soon as Dr. Hamilton entered the room, Jim Dultmeier said the physician looked him in the eyes and said the words that would forever haunt Jim, “We did everything we could to save your daughter.”

Lori said she had been expecting the surgeon to tell her what was next in Jennifer’s recovery. Instead, they faced the horrifying truth that their only daughter was dead.

Although Dr. Hamilton has encountered thousands of other patients since that night, he has never forgotten Jennifer and her family. The accident was a life-changing event for everyone.

While their lives will never be as complete or as joy-filled without Jennifer, the Dultmeiers have found ways of channeling their grief into helping others. Lori founded a nonprofit called Quilts for Angels which has donated thousands of quilts to area hospitals. Jim has spent over a decade as a speaker for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) sharing the impact of losing their daughter.

All these years later, Lori said to the doctor, “We came here today to thank you for all you did that night, and let you know how comforting it was knowing that you did everything in your power to save Jennifer. We want you to know, too, that although our lives will never be the same, we are doing okay.”

Jim and Lori said they hope that the book On Shattered Wings will help other parents from ever having to hear the words of a doctor, “We did everything we could, but we couldn’t save your child.”

Jim said, “If the book prevents one family from having to go through what we did, then it was worth reliving all of it.”

For more information about On Shattered Wings, co-authored by Nancy Sprowell Geise: www.nancygeise.com
On Shattered Wings can be found on Amazon: https://http://www.nancygeise.com/news
Contact Life Changing Stories Press: https://www.lifechangingstoriespress.com

Nancy Geise
Life Changing Stories Press
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