Some 150 people gathered at the Health Information and Translational Science building on the canal in Indianapolis on Wednesday, August 28, at a memorial service for Andrew Bolhassani, the fourth-year medical student who recently passed away at age 28.
Friends, classmates, faculty, staff and administrators came together with Andrew’s parents, sister, other relatives and friends from Miami to share remembrances of the young man many referred to as “everybody’s best friend.”
Andrew –called Drew, Drewbie and Andy by friends – was from Miami, Florida. He began his enrollment at IU School of Medicine in fall 2016 and attended the school’s Bloomington campus. He later moved to Indianapolis for his clinical rotations.
Friends recalled how Andrew “warmed the room” and was the first to make people laugh. They described an adventurous spirit who loved to hike, travel and experience different cultures. But above all, they described Andrew as someone who fiercely loved and supported his friends and family.
One classmate shared how they recently bumped into each other in the emergency department while on separate rotations. They hadn’t seen each other in a month, and Andrew wrapped him up in an enormous hug. “I’ll miss him, and I’ll miss his hugs,” the friend said.
The event, organized by his classmates, included a slideshow set to the songs “Big Shot” by Billy Joel and “Listen to the Music” by The Doobie Brothers. It showed Andrew spending time with his friends, striking a yoga pose, “styling” in his white coat and generally having a good time. The service ended with his family and friends gathering near the canal to release biodegradable white balloons into the bright, sunny August sky. A fitting symbol of his adventurous and positive spirit.
“We are lucky we knew him,” one friend said. “We will miss him every day. We love him.”
Dr. Antwione Haywood, assistant dean for medical student education, said Andrew told him recently that he wanted to be an anesthesiologist, in part because work-life balance was important to him.
“One of his big goals in life was to have a family,” Haywood said. “He was a big family person and that was very important to him. I believe if we had the opportunity to talk to him today, he would say thank you for being his big family.”
Mental health and personal counseling services are available to students who may be impacted by Andrew’s death—or need counseling for any reason.
The Department of Mental Health Services at IU School of Medicine is available to provide mental health and personal counseling services to all students, residents and fellows. There are two ways to access services:
- In an emergency, call 317-278-HELP (4357) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A licensed clinical health specialist will provide an assessment and help direct you to appropriate treatment options based on the situation. You may also call on behalf of a trainee if you are a family member, friend or colleague concerned about well-being.
- Contact the Department of Mental Health Services non-emergency number during normal business hours at 317-278-2383 or email email@example.com to learn about services or inquire about an appointment.
In addition, the IU Health Chaplaincy Services is available to provide emotional and spiritual support to any member of the IU School of Medicine and IU Health community. Call Deborah Butt at 317-403-7962 or Joe Colquitt 317-270-8609.