For one Strong doctor, the death of Daniel Prude triggered pain, anger and the most amazing discovery

[anvplayer video=”4987208″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We’ve gone through a lot this year, together. One of the most painful things was the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester Police custody.

This month, News10NBC investigated the case, including Prude’s care at Strong Hospital. Watch News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean’s investigations into how Prude got to Rochester from Chicago and the care he received at Strong.

For one doctor at Strong Hospital, Prude’s death triggered incredible pain and anger, then the most amazing discovery.

"I’m a neurosurgery resident," Dr. David Paul said. "I’m in my fifth year."

Born 32 years ago in the Midwest, Paul graduated from the University of Rochester Medical School and stayed at Strong.

In the summer, he started working in the ICU at Strong, the same unit where Prude was on life support in March and died seven days later.

For Paul, there was something about Prude’s name. It was the same as his great grandmother. After Prude’s death, he called family in Michigan and Chicago, Prude’s hometown.

"After thinking and trying to connect the dots and speaking with family in Chicago, I came to the realization that we were actually cousins," Paul said. "We were related."

The connection cut so deep, Paul wrote an essay. Last week, it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

He wrote Prude’s "death hit me hard" and blamed "police brutality." He told readers he and Prude "were cousins."

Brean: "When you learned that you and Daniel were cousins, what impact did that have on you?"

Paul: "It had tremendous impact. The very fact that one – this year I’m doing critical care fellowship, so I’m in the ICU. And the unit that I work in is the exact same unit Daniel Prude passed away on. And not only does it hit hard because it’s another African American male who is the victim of police brutality and decisions that were made that lead to his death, that hit hard. But on top of that, finding out that this is a blood relative, that he was cared for at the hospital I work, and not just the hospital I work, but the exact unit that I walk onto eery day to care for patients of my own, it was a heavy burden."

Paul was not in the ICU when Prude was there. He has not looked at his charts and privacy laws prevent him from talking about Prude’s care. He wishes he could have been there to help and wrote that people in critical mental health crisis need more help than the system offers.

He told me writing is his therapy.

Brean: "When people read your article, what do you want them to take away from it?"

Paul: "I want them to take away a different narrative. Actually, I want to soften people’s hearts. I want people to read this piece and I want them to see their cousin in Daniel Prude. I want them to assess the situation as if this is their loved one. It’s not about politics. This is not about right or wrong. This is about us healing as a nation, as a community."

Click here for more on the death of Daniel Prude.