Friday, January 23, 2015

Doctor Shooting

Those of us here mourn, and are shocked by the recent events in MA.
A vascular surgeon is shot to death in the very hospital he works in, by a family member of a patient.
It is shocking- however perhaps I'm just too cynical- but it was inevitable, bound to happen someday. After all, guns so part of the American culture that there are about 300 million guns in the United States. That's about one for every man, woman and child.
Undoubtedly this is fueled by the 2nd amendment, the "right to bear arms..." which people quote as though it was the bible, and a God-given right.
Adding to that is the industry's lobbying, the NRA and the mantra of "guns don't kill people, people kill people..." (yea, but people with guns kill more people).
The rationale is that we need guns to protect ourselves from other people with guns. Genius, and the whole place becomes the Wild West.
And so, people are walking around packed. Despite what the signs might say on the entrances of facilities: No guns allowed. After all, if it's concealed, who's going to know?
In my very clinic, we've have at least 3 patient encounters (not including those in law enforcement who came in armed because they carry a gun to work) where patients proudly showed off their guns to their doctors, thinking it was cool. One of my colleagues promptly walked out of the patient room-good for her.
So, with so many people carrying firearms in this country, it does not surprise me that tragedies like these occur.
Human beings have their limits; we all will someday snap if put under enough pressure. In this case in Boston, it was apparently related to the shooter's mother's death, and presumably he put the blame on the doctor. But doctors do not have absolute power over the human body, and we will fail some patients, especially in a high-risk specialty such as surgery. I've certainly pissed off many patients in my short career so far, whether it's because I refused to prescribe opiates, or weight loss pills, or when I tell them they need to lose some weight, or when they're upset by the high cost of medications. It's scary enough that some patients may harbour ill-will and blame towards the doctor when something goes wrong- but to come in and shoot him?? Well, the system makes it so easy.
It makes it so easy for someone to carry a firearm, that tragedies, accidental or not, will continue to happen.
Like that toddler who shot her mom in Walmart because she got into the mother's handbag and found her gun.
Or that man who shot another in the theater, because he thought his life was "in danger" when someone threw popcorn at him.
Or that police officer who shot that kid carrying a toy gun, because it looked real
Or that kid who shot another at a party, because he found a gun in the house.
I'm all for freedom- and many say this is a freedom that is given to them. But where does it stop? We all have a right to protect ourselves- but do we all need to be packing guns. Or an assault rifle? People are passionate about the 2nd Amendment, that it's a right- however the very word "amendment" means a change in a document- so yes things can be changed, if there is political will to it.
Will it ever happen? Never. I see it in how charged people are about their guns. How the NRA fuels this fire. Heck, I see it in friends with 5-6 guns and assault rifles who clearly see their gun collection more so as a hobby, a pride and joy, than a safety necessity.
Such scary times we live in.
RIP, Dr. Davidson.

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