One man's mission to give back

November 28, 2010 5:36:28 PM PST
One man's celebration of Thanksgiving has been an on-going one, but with an emphasis on the "giving" part.

Bach is not what you usually hear at an intensive care unit, but it's what Andrew Schulman likes to start with.

Three days a week, the guitarist comes to play at the surgical intensive care unit at the Beth Israel Medical Center.


"With what happened to me, you can't thank God enough, or your loved ones or your doctors, or nurses enough. You have to give something to give thanks," he said.

And that something he's giving is his music.

Andrew himself was a patient here for ten grueling days in 2009.

He'd had a difficult abdominal surgery. There were complications and he was put into a coma.

He says the doctors and the nurses here and music saved his life.

"Everybody thought I was gonna die in the first three days of that coma and then my wife played some Bach for me on my iPod and I stabilized," he said.

He has been coming back for almost a year. He sees which patients needs more healing or comfort and, if they desire, he brings the music right to their bedside.

Josephine Ruta's family has been with her with her almost a week. The "Ave Maria" is what they like to hear.

"It feels like a little piece of heaven has come into our very chaotic situation and we've been so stressed, but as soon as you hear that music it just has a very calming presence and a very comforting presence," Margaret Hearn, Ruta's niece, said.

Whether Schulman is playing Schubert, Bach or the Beatles, the patients, the families and especially the hospital staff are foremost in his thoughts of giving thanks.

"They saved my life, so for me I am getting much more than I am giving by being here. Believe me," he said.

Learn more about Andrew Schulman on his website at