STOCKHOLM—Forgive Nobel laureate Gregg Semenza for being an hour late to a dinner held in his honor on the eve of the Nobel Prize award ceremony. His excuse was both a good and noble one.
As he was leaving the Nordic Museum via a side exit on his way to the gathering of family and friends Monday night, Semenza saw a man just a few yards from him trip down a flight of stairs, tumble over a railing, and fall onto the cobblestone street below.
Semenza, a pediatrician by training, rushed to assist. He assessed the man's condition and could tell he had suffered a skull laceration, broken wrist, dislocated shoulder, and likely a concussion, as he exhibited blurred vision and was unable to say his name.
"He didn't know who he was," Semenza said. "We carried him inside and called for an ambulance."
Photos from Stockholm
Semenza stayed with the man until paramedics arrived, to monitor his condition and to comfort him, along with his wife. The couple is in Stockholm to attend today's Nobel Prize award ceremony and banquet, Semenza said.
"I was certainly concerned that he had suffered a head injury and might lose consciousness, so I was going to stay with him until someone came," Semenza said.
Once paramedics arrived, Semenza and his wife left for the party, which was attended by 30 guests, including Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels, School of Medicine Dean Paul Rothman, and other Johns Hopkins colleagues, as well as family and close friends.
When Semenza arrived, he apologized for his lateness and would later tell them the story—but only after an eloquent speech in which he thanked everyone for their support and for being there for his big day.
Semenza will receive his Nobel medal today at the award ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall.
Tagged gregg semenza