WALTHAM (CBS) — As Professor Jill Brown taught the last seminar of a leadership ethics summer course at Bentley University, she was brushing off some mysterious aches and pains aside by blaming them on a recent foot surgery.
As Dr. Iris Jaffe sat in that same lecture as a student, she debated whether or not to tell her professor that she noticed some concerning symptoms in her professor’s health.
“I’m not your doctor, and I don’t know anything about you,” Jaffe recalled saying to Brown. “But I think you might have a blood clot in your lungs and I’m really concerned.”
It was during a break that Jaffe came forward. She politely pointed out to to Brown that her leg was swollen, she seemed short of breath, and the veins in her neck were pulsing. These could all red flags of a larger problem and she should go to the emergency room, Jaffe said.
A few days later, Brown took Jaffe’s advice. She discovered she had multiple blood clots in both lungs and a deep vein blood clot in her leg.
“When you are a physician, even when you are not in the hospital, you carry that with you wherever you go. So you notice things outside because they are things you are trained to look for,” explained Jaffe, a Tufts Medical Center cardiologist.
The experience still makes Brown emotional, she said.
“When I got to the ER, multiple doctors told me that I am lucky, that I am lucky to be alive.”
Brown said that without Jaffe, she would have ignored her symptoms.
As a thank you, Brown made a donation to the American Heart Association in Jaffe’s name.