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Doctors in Danger

We have recently heard the horrific news of the surgeon who wants gunned down at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. This is truly a sad event and my prayers and condolences go out to his family.

But in another turn, these events make me very angry. Reportedly, the shooter decided to kill he physician involved in his mother’s care some years ago. Unfortunately, the woman died. (To my knowledge, we do not know if there were any allegations of malpractice) Really????
Let’s be real here…people die. Every day. Your doctor is not God-even if he or she thinks so or acts like it. As a physician, I do not get to decide who lives and who doesn’t. And it terrifies me that someone who isn’t satisfied with an outcome may come gunning for me.

My fear is real, and based on an experience that I will now share.

Some years ago, when I worked in Columbus, GA, I encountered a patient with a unique presentation. My nurse came and got me to see this patient with some urgency. Her complaint was abdominal pain, but she wasn’t in one of the higher acuity treatment rooms. I thought it odd, but proceeded with my nurse anyway. This lady was with a man. She told me what was wrong, but something didn’t feel right about her story. Following my instincts, I asked the man to leave the room so that I could do a pelvic exam. My nurse made sure that the man went back out to the waiting room.

What the woman then told us still gives me chills. She stated that the man was her ex. She had been seeing him while separated from her husband. She broke it off when she and her husband reconciled. But this man did not accept this, and had shot her husband and kidnapped her. The husband was in critical condition, and they had been living in abandoned houses to avoid the police,etc. She came up with the abdominal pain as a way to escape. She told us that he was armed and that she felt he would not hesitate to kill anyone.
So now we all were in danger. We activated our lockdown protocol and the police were called.

That day could have gone horribly wrong for me and many others. I very well could not be sitting here today.

Folks, everyday your doctors sacrifice a lot; time with their families, sleep, eating- you name it. But some of us have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to pursue our dreams and take care of others. In my opinion, that’s too much to give.

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