Woman becomes doctor at same children's hospital that saved her life

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INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) — When she was 10 years old, Maria Dodson needed a life-saving procedure to fix her heart.

She had been diagnosed with Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome, a congenital heart defect that causes episodes of rapid heartbeat, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. She spent months at the Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, undergoing successful heart ablation procedures to correct the electrical pathways in her heart.

More than a decade later, she is now back at Riley, but not as a patient. Instead, she is there as a doctor after majoring in neuroscience at the University of Evansville and pursuing medical school at Marian University.

Given her diagnosis, Dr. Dodson said she knows firsthand what many patients are going through.

“Our health is something a lot of us take for granted,” Dodson told Nexstar’s WXIN. “Being here made me realize how good I have it. You see a lot of people sick.”

Dr. Dodson said her goal is to eventually be a primary physician in underserved areas, such as rural Central Indiana. She pointed to the gap in pediatric primary care as being one area where she can make a difference.

“I want to be someone you can lean on to show empathy and compassion,” she said. 

Dodson said she plans to continue giving back to the hospital that gave her a second chance at life.

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