A doctor from Santa Ana is performing extraordinary work in one of the busiest trauma centers in the country, but his journey to working in the operating room was anything but ordinary.
Before Dr. James Maciel began working at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center he was heading down the wrong path as a teenager.
“I grew up in Santa Ana, California. A very low income, underserved community, predominately Latino and growing up it was a lot of poverty that I saw. Violence, social injustice,” Maciel explained.
Maciel started running with a gang and eventually landed himself in juvenile hall when he was 16.
“I hit a personal rock bottom. For me it was kind of like if you keep this up you’re going to end up in prison. That really scared me. My parents would come visit and the pain in their eyes,” Maciel recalled. “My dad, to actually see a man cry. I was like …