JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Four hundred fifty miles separate a brother from his sister and after watching the story Region 8 News did on Natalie Eaton he spoke about the day she nearly died.
"If there's one person that didn't deserve this to happen to them, it's her," said Dr. Brody Eaton, Natalie's oldest brother.
Dr. Eaton said he remembers with vivid detail what this experience was like in real life.
"I was trying to get her to squeeze my hands, but she couldn't because of the spinal cord injury," he said.
Dr. Eaton just happened to be near the fraternity house where Natalie was impaled by the broken end of a golf club.
"The hardest part was when she was telling me that she didn't want to die," said Dr. Eaton. "And me having to tell her, you're not gonna die and thinking to myself, Lord... don't let me be telling my sister a lie."
He rode in the ambulance with her to St. Bernards. Dr. Eaton is 8 years older than his sister and called ahead to make sure the staff was ready and then prayed with her on the way.
"We were only 4 miles away," he said. "But that was the longest ride in my life."
Dr. Eaton said he was at the right place at the right time. He had debated long and hard over where to do his residency.
He felt drawn to home, but was never sure why.
"This is why," Dr. Eaton said. "This moment is why I was meant to come back and do this."
Dr. Eaton is doing his residency training at St. Bernards through the University of Arkansas for Medical Science's Area Health Education Centers, or UAMS AHEC.
As a physician, Dr. Eaton has watched his sister's care with a keen eye. He marvels at her progress, but, knows the daily struggles his mother and sister face.
"From just talking with my Mom, I think they just cry every other day now," said Dr. Eaton. "They used to cry every day."
Dr. Eaton said the happy moments are the ones he holds onto. He mentions a picture that was taken right before the accident. In it, Natalie is wearing a monogrammed necklace with her initials.
Her brother pulls the top of his shirt collar back to reveal the same necklace and gets a little misty-eyed. It was taken off in the emergency room the night he thought she might die.
Dr. Eaton said another physician held onto it for him.
"The day I came back to work, he handed it to me in a plastic bag," explained Dr. Eaton. "I've had it on ever since and I told Natalie, when you come back for good... You'll get it back."
That won't be long now, Natalie is set to go through a graduation ceremony at Shepherd Center later this month.
She graduates to the outpatient program. In between though, she's allowed a brief trip home and that will probably be quite a homecoming.
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