A meme showing a picture of a doctor and the paramedic who saved each others lives has long circulated on social media, in large part due to an April 2016 Unbelievable Facts Facebook post:
That meme read at the bottom:
In 1981, a pediatrician saved the life of a 3.2-pound premature baby boy by working around the clock to beat the odds & stabilize him. In 2011, the pediatrician was pinned inside a burning vehicle after a car collision, but was saved by the premature baby, who had grown up to become a paramedic.
An identical version was shared on November 22 2019 to r/nevertellmetheodds, a subreddit for posts about long-odds scenarios occurring in real life:
The story (and appended photograph) originated with a March 2015 KTLA report about the doctor and the once-premature baby — Dr. Michael Shannon and Chris Trokey — reuniting at a fundraiser four years after Trokey saved Shannon’s life in 2011:
Exactly four years ago, on March 29, 2011, Dr. Michael Shannon was driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point when a semi-truck T-boned his SUV, pinning his vehicle underneath the truck as it caught fire.
Firefighters from Paramedic Engine 29 were returning from another call and responded within minutes to the fiery crash.
By the time they arrived, Shannon’s vehicle was also ablaze and the flames were burning his legs. Fire crews then worked to extinguish the flames and rescue him using the Jaws of Life.
The seriously injured Shannon was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo where he spent the next 45 days recovering from internal injuries. He also had to have two of his toes amputated.
Among those who had helped save Shannon that day was Orange County Fire Authority paramedic Chris Trokey, whose own life had been saved 30 years earlier by the pediatrician.
“I didn’t know about until I went to the hospital and started talking about it, Dr. Shannon. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, Dr. Shannon?'” Trokey recalled [in 2015]. “That’s when I found out.”
Trokey was just 3.2 pounds at birth, and doctors had initially gave him a 50/50 chance at surviving. But his pediatrician — Dr. Shannon — helped save his life, staying with the infant around the clock until his health improved and he was stable.
According to the meme, a pediatrician (Shannon) saved a premature baby (Trokey) in 1981. Thirty years later, the then-grown baby was a paramedic, and a first responder to a serious car accident involving Shannon. When Shannon and Trokey met again in 2015, KTLA reported the story, inspiring memes which circulated for several years thereafter.