Ryder Trauma Center Patient to Marry his Longtime Fiancé in Ceremony at JMH
James Brown, 57, patient/groom; Eva Meiningsih, 31, bride; friends of the bride and groom; medical staff from Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center, and Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital
It was a chance meeting on a street in Indonesia when James Brown and Eva Meiningsih saw each other for the first time in 2007. He was there working as a consultant for a furniture business, and she was a local street vendor selling clothes. The two hit it off immediately and, within six months, they were engaged to be married.
Four years later, the couple moved to Honduras so James, a longtime furniture industry executive, could open and run a furniture factory. The couple was happy and enjoyed their life in Central America. But they put their wedding plans on hold because they wanted to marry in the United States, where James was born and raised.
Tragedy struck in late April of this year when James became ill with flu-like symptoms – chills, a fever, an earache. Eva came home one day to find James unconscious in the shower, his face partially submerged. He was rushed to a local hospital in Honduras, where he remained in a coma. Doctors ran a series of tests and diagnosed him with meningitis, a life-threatening disease that is caused by the inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes.
Knowing the severity of James’ condition, Eva desperately wanted to have her fiancé moved to a hospital in the United States. The couple had previously discussed what they’d do in case they were faced with a medical emergency abroad, and agreed that their first choice of hospitals would be Jackson Memorial in Miami. Eva worked with Jackson International, which coordinates the transfer of patients in other countries who are in need of expert treatment for complex medical and surgical care.
On May 5, James – who was just coming out of his coma – was flown via air ambulance to Miami. He was brought to the neurosurgical intensive care unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, extremely ill with a fever as high as 107 degrees, and a cyst in his brain. He recovered enough to be transferred out of ICU and was moved to Ryder Trauma Center to receive rehabilitation.
During the last two months, the medical team at Jackson, including physicians, nurses, and rehabilitation therapists, has been helping James in his continuing journey to recovery. He is slowly regaining his strength, and learning to walk again.
Throughout the ordeal, Eva has remained by his side. Not wanting to wait any longer, the couple decided to tie the knot at the place that saved James’ life – Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“Every day is a miracle,” he said. “The team here is great. We owe everything to them.”
Now their journey from the streets of Indonesia where they were engaged, to Central America and to the United States is ending finally in wedding bliss. Last week, a recreation therapist from Ryder Trauma Center took James and Eva to the Miami-Dade County Courthouse to obtain a marriage license. On Wednesday, they’ll say their “I Dos” before friends and hospital staff.
July 15, 2015, 2:45 p.m.
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Clark Diagnostic Treatment Center, room 259
Corner of Northwest 12th Avenue and 19th Street
Miami, FL 33136
Media can park outside of the Clark DTC.
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Jackson Health System
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136