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Med Student Survives Six Brain Surgeries And Becomes A Doctor

When I Grow Up…

Most kids, at one point or another, say that they want to be a doctor when they grow up. Their parents buy them the doctor kits, they treat their pets and family members for imaginary illnesses, and they tell everyone that they are going to be a doctor. When many kids grow up, they change their mind about their future career path. Very few stick to their decision to become a doctor. By the time these kids reach high school, they decide that they don’t want to be doctors. Some don’t want to go through years of school and go into financial debt. Others realize that there is another career that is their dream job. While many kids change their minds before they graduate from college, Claudia Martinez isn’t one of them. She had a dream, and she never gave up on it.

Claudia Martinez

Claudia wanted to be a doctor ever since she was a little girl. Unlike most children, she never changed her mind. She always knew that she wanted to be a doctor, to help people, and to save lives when she grew up. After graduating from high school, Claudia enrolled in college where her major would be pre-med. Everything was going according to plan until she suffered from serious medical issues.

Medical Problems

When Claudia was in college, she started suffering from severe headaches. At first, she thought that her headaches were tension headaches due to the stress of her heavy course load. This is why she didn’t bother to see a doctor. It wasn’t until she lost consciousness that she finally went to see the doctor.

A Diagnosis

When Claudia went to the doctor, she was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. This condition occurs when the brain tissue extends into the spinal cord. This can cause paralysis. After being diagnosed, she was referred to a neurosurgeon who told her that she needed to have brain surgery as quickly as possible. If she were to wait, she could be permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Within a week, she was on the operating table, having brain surgery.

Still Focused

Regardless of her medical condition and her surgery, Claudia managed to graduate from college with a 4.0 GPA. She also was accepted to medical school. The school she got into just happened to be UTHealth McGovern Medical School, which was the same hospital where she received her brain surgery.

More Trouble Ahead

Claudia believed that after her surgery, she would start medical school, and her health issues would be behind her. Unfortunately, from the time she was accepted to med school until her third year, she had to have four more brain surgeries. During her last brain surgery, she suffered a stroke.


As a result of her stroke, Claudia was paralyzed from the neck down. She was unable to do anything on her own. Her mother had to feed her, dress her, and bathe her. She never felt so helpless in her life. Even though she felt helpless, she knew that she had to fight. This wasn’t the life that she envisioned for herself, and it wasn’t going to be the end of her story.


When Claudia was ready to fight, she started rehabilitation. She was admitted to the TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehab Hospital so that she could learn to walk again. She started working with an Exoskeleton to start walking again. Claudia says that it was far from easy and at times she wanted to give up. What kept her going was the thought of becoming a doctor. She was determined to get better, learn to walk, and get her degree. She hoped to save someone’s life the way that her doctor saved hers.


All of Claudia’s hard work and perseverance paid off, and she regained her strength, and she was able to walk. She didn’t wait too long before getting back to school to finish her studies. She is in her final year of school, and she is going to graduate in 2020. She is going to finally fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, and she refused to let her medical condition or her paralysis stand in her way.


Claudia believes that her story is a miracle. Others believe that she is a hero. It takes a really strong, determined person to overcome all of the things that Claudia has in the last few years. She received a horrible diagnosis, she went through six painful surgeries, she suffered a stroke, she suffered paralysis, and never let any of it stop her. She learned to walk again and moved on to achieve her dream. If this isn’t heroic, I don’t know what is. This med student survives 6 brain surgeries to become doctor.

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