Phoenix, AZ

Arizona State University's student-teacher reunion at Mayo Clinic emergency room

Victoria Nogales

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PHOENIX, AZ—While waiting at the Mayo Clinic emergency room, Charlotte Thrall, a clinical assistant professor and administrator of Edson College's Family Nurse Practitioner program, had a bittersweet reunion with her former student, Lexy Richards.

Charlotte was in the Mayo Clinic emergency department, worriedly waiting for news on her husband's condition after a pickleball accident left him unconscious and unresponsive, when she saw a familiar face among the crowd of healthcare personnel who had begun to fill the room.

Lexy Richards was her former student at Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation who now works on the Mayo Neurosurgery team.

As a lecturer, Charlotte first encountered Richards at the campus and they quickly formed a mentor-mentee relationship. When Richards was on the leadership team for a community health care event Charlotte and her husband founded in 2012 (HopeFest), Charlotte sent a letter of reference for Richards' admission to medical school to become a neurosurgeon. This happened only months before Billy's tragedy.

Richards was at Billy Thrall's bedside the next morning, reviewing imaging and lab work, answering any questions they had, and doing everything she could to make sure the couple were taken care of.

"It was so humbling to be in a position where someone who taught you everything you know and who you respect to the highest degree is now in a position of vulnerability," Richards said.

Thankfully, Billy did not require surgery. Charlotte, on the other hand, found having Richards to talk to during his recuperation to be quite invaluable.

While Billy was still recovering in the hospital, Richards received news that her application to the medical school had been accepted. This summer, she will begin her studies at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas.

The unexpected reunion made Charlotte and Richards frequently keep in touch even after Billy recovered.

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