Oklahoma City bombing survivor begins journey toward becoming a physician

OKLAHOMA CITY – On April 19, 1995, Madison Naylor was a 6-month-old baby staying at the YMCA daycare next to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City; today, Naylor begins her journey as a first-year medical student.

Despite the horror and destruction that morning, Madison lived, remarkably without injury.

“Even though I don’t remember the bombing, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about it,” Naylor said. “I remember when I was very young, I had a feeling that I had been really close to death, and I remember how I was affected by seeing the children’s chairs at the bombing memorial. I hope I can be something good that came from something so horrific. I hope I can make Oklahoma proud.”

In 1995, Naylor’s parents were working at the OU Health Sciences Center. When her parents learned what had happened downtown, they rushed to find their daughter. Her mother discovered her being held by a woman on the street who she didn’t know.

As she grew up, Naylor’s parents gradually told her more and more about the bombing, and she searched out and found her name on the survivor’s wall at the outdoor memorial.

Because her father is a physician, Naylor often thought she wanted to follow in his footsteps, but when she began volunteering at a hospital during high school, she felt like she “saw” medicine for the first time.

“I saw the team dynamic and I knew it was a career where you could really impact people’s lives,” she said. “It’s always been important to me to have a job that I love.”

Naylor went on to earn a degree in biology from Baylor University and began applying to medical schools. After she interviewed with the admissions board at the OU College of Medicine, she went to the bombing site to revisit the museum and the memorial to reflect.

“I know the bombing is still a part of people’s lives here,” she said. “It’s humbling to be associated with such a tragic event. I hope that I can be a positive face going forward.
I just want to be the kind of person who leaves the world a better place than I found it. I know that, sooner than I’ll even want, I won’t be able to save everybody I encounter in medicine. But I want to know that I gave 110 percent for every patient. I think the best doctors are the ones who aren’t just going through the motions; they really care and they take personally what their patients are going through. That’s the kind of doctor I want to be.”

Madison Naylor (right) with Dr. Pamela Miles, who delivered her just six months before the bombing and remains on faculty with OU Medicine.

Madison Naylor (center) during the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

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