In Memory of Lisa and Dr. Davidson

By Adam Pick on January 21, 2015

As many of you know, I am an optimist.

I truly believe that every dark tunnel — no matter how dark — has light at the end of it. I truly believe that for every situation — no matter how unfortunate it may be — there is something to learn from, something to grow from, something to challenge ourselves with.

However, this optimism has its moments. My hopes are tested. And, my resolve to stay positive can feel completely dislocating.

During the past 30 days, I experienced two of these foreign moments.


In memory of Lisa Fuller and Dr. Michael Davidson



For the first time in many years, we lost a member of our Heart Valve Journals community.

On December 30, 2014, Lisa Fuller, from Lincoln, Illinois, passed away as a result of complications following a bicuspid aortic valve procedure. Lisa was a wife to John, a mother to Sarah, and a nurse at St. John’s Hospital.

She was just 50 years old. She was a runner. And, her enthusiastic approach to life sprung forth from the words in her journal.


Lisa Fuller and Sarah (her daughter)Lisa with Sarah (her daughter)


Lisa’s last post at her journal concluded, “To my friends and family, I LOVE YOU!!!!”

Tears swell up on my eyelids every time I read that.

Many thanks to all of you who filled Lisa’s guestbook with your sympathy and your condolences.



We lost Dr. Michael Davidson in what can only be described as a tragedy.

I will never forget when I first met Dr. Davidson in 2012 at the annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting in San Diego. Dr. Davidson walked up to me and said, “Hey Adam! I think it’s just great what you are doing! My patients love your site!” We then talked about the different ways we could better educate patients about the new, less invasive technologies he was working on.

After that, I was fortunate to speak with Dr. Davidson a few more times over the phone and via email. A super nice guy, an approachable guy, and an excellent surgeon as many of his patients have shared with me.


Dr. Michael DavidsonDr. Michael Davidson


When I look at this picture, I experience sadness and disbelief. I know that Dr. Davidson, a husband and father of three children, who was just 44 years old, had so much more good to bring into this world.

One of Dr. Davidson’s patients just emailed me. She wrote the following:


Hi Adam, Dr. Davidson was an awesome dr/surgeon as well as just an overall nice guy.  He treated me and my husband with so much respect and kindness. I am doing great, back to the gym, hiking, etc.  My valve was “one of the worse he has ever seen” and my surgery was five hours. When he was done, he apologized to my husband for having to wait so long.  That was the type of dr. he was.  I just wanted to pass this along to you, as I know you understand how important these surgeons are and would want to know.  Or, maybe it’s just therapeutic to me to let someone else, who has been through it, know about this sad event.  These dr’s turn into our own personal heroes.


Like Lisa, Dr. Davidson was a runner, who completed the Boston Marathon to celebrate his 40th birthday. Like me, Dr. Davidson also played guitar.

While I remain the optimist, today is quite the struggle. There are no words that readily describe my feelings in this moment. Maybe that is the point of writing this. Maybe that is the glimmer. When you get low, there is only way to go… up.

My thoughts and my prayers go out to the families and the friends of Lisa Fuller and Dr. Michael Davidson. You will be missed!


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Diane H Engelman says on January 21st, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Thank you, Adam. You speak for many of us.

Jim Hernandez says on January 21st, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Ty Adam, that was truly heartfelt. Like you, my fiancé and I are in disbelief over this senseless tragedy. When we found out I needed to have surgery, Dr. Davidson’s name was one of two right off the bat that was given to me. We went up to B&W this past Thursday to meet with Dr. Byrne, whom was the other doctors name we were given, he had nothing but glowing things to say about his colleague. We were very impressed with the whole atmosphere that we chose that site for my surgery in March. When we heard of the shooting, we were shocked and saddened because this is “our hospital “! The one chosen to perform such a important and potentially life saving procedure. We felt a instant kinship and closeness, that this was family. We are sad for his family and colleagues, wishing them nothing but love and our support thru this difficult time

Susan Ericsson says on January 21st, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Adam, thank you for sharing the stories of these two remarkable people. I join my prayers with yours and so many others who love them both. Praying for comfort for you too, dear Adam. You feel so much for all of us.

Lynn Sieving says on January 21st, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Thank you Adam Pick. Thank you for reaching out and touching us with your love and concern. It is helpful!

Ginger French of Oz says on January 21st, 2015 at 11:32 pm

I have always thought of myself as a “practical optimist”, and hung onto the strength that comes with faith when events occur that are beyond my understanding. Tragic? Absolutely! And beyond my understanding…. So I do as I have in the past, and pray to the Almighty Who knows and gives me strength to live with what has occurred. And I am praying for the family and friends of Lisa and Dr. Davidson. I also light two candles here in my home tonight, one for each of them….envisioning the entire Heart Family doing the same. And I believe this vast light from all of us combined will reach not only to the heavens, but to each place that has been darkened by these two events. Blessings to all…

Mary-Jo Eller Smith says on January 22nd, 2015 at 12:39 am

Thank you, Adam………..these were tremendous losses. I love you for all you do!

Ellen Lovell says on January 22nd, 2015 at 1:10 am

I am so sorry to read the loss of these wonderful persons. Adam – you are so caring to all of us . I know this shakes and saddens you. Thank you for letting us know.

leo cicero says on January 22nd, 2015 at 1:52 am

Thank you Adam for sharing your thoughts.My prayers go out to Dr. Davidson and Lisa Fuller and their families.

Ivan Vesely says on January 22nd, 2015 at 8:17 am

Thank you Adam, for all that you do for our community. I am still shocked that someone would take the life of another man that dedicated his life to saving the lives of others…. truly senseless..

Nancy Scott says on January 22nd, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for sharing with us. I can’t describe the anger and sadness I felt when I heard about the shooting. He was a kind family man who worked to make other’s lives better and healthier.

Ruth Valenzuela says on January 22nd, 2015 at 2:09 pm

The good Lord tells us to not lean on our own understanding but you just can’t help wondering about the “why” of things. I was deeply saddened to hear of Lisa’s passing and then the senseless shooting of Dr. Davidson only made it worse. My prayers go out to both families that live with the pain of losing them. Thank you Adam for sharing your heartfelt words.

cats and dogs says on January 23rd, 2015 at 8:06 am

That is very sad and tragic news.

I consider myself very fortunate as I am six months post surgery with
Aortic valve replacement (tissue valve) and two coronary arteries and at
approaching 62 years of age I feel as strong as an Ox.

My heartfelt condolences to all.

Anna M Thomas says on January 27th, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Thanks for the eloquent words Adam. My prayers go out for all the families involved in both of these losses as well as our entire Heart Valve Journal community. May they both indeed, rest in peace.

John Lebegue says on March 2nd, 2015 at 2:01 pm

I just discovered your touching comments Adam and I thank you very much for your thoughts and comments on the passing of Lisa. I have been overwhelmed with support and prayers that we received during this unexplainable tragedy. I am equally shocked and dismayed at the senseless killing of such a wonderful caring person as Dr. Davidson. I truly question how we could lose two people who devoted their lives to helping and saving the lives of others. Right now the days are often very long and lonely without Lisa and I truly don’t think I will ever totally come to grips with this loss, but will eventually learn to live and love again because that’s what that loving and totally unselfish woman would have wanted me to do. Please take care and keep doing the wonderful things that you do.

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