Docs Honor, Mourn Slain Surgeon

JUNE 09, 2015
Gale Scott
The Jan. 20 hospital shooting death of 44-year-old Boston cardiac surgeon Michael Davidson, MD, was much on the minds of doctors at the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates meeting in Chicago, IL.

Davidson, who was fatally wounded by an emotionally disturbed man who irrationally blamed him for his mother's death following surgery performed by Davidson, was recognized by the delegates in 2 ways.

Davidson was memorialized in a resolution passed unanimously by the delegates.

The physicians also searched for better ways to protect their own, in a resolution calling for an AMA study to find “new preventative measures and possibly enhanced criminal penalties” to address violence against physicians and others in the health care setting.

In the memorial, Davidson was remembered as “a visionary” in his field of cardiac surgery.

He earned his MD at Yale University in 1996 also trained at Duke University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“Dr. Davidson was instrumental in creating Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s first ever complex structural heart procedures” including the first “valve-in-valve” tricuspid valve procedure," the AMA resolution noted.

He was described also as “a talented surgeon willing to operate on the sickest and most frail patients” as well as being a dedicated mentor and teacher to surgical and interventional cardiology residents.

At his death he left wife Teri Davidson, who was then 7 months pregnant, and 3 children ages 2 to 9. His assailant took his own life.

“Dr. Davidson even spent the last moments of his life trying to calm a distraught patient’s family member. . .while at work in the hospital serving his patients," the resolution said.

The memorial concluded with a resolve that the AMA “recognize the life-long service of Dr. Michael J. Davidson to his community, his patients, and his profession and convey this resolution and its deepest sympathy to [his] family.”

The AMA quoted a study in Annals of Emergency Medicine that found there have been more than 150 shootings in health care facilities in the past decade. Some states have passed laws banning guns in hospitals. 

Stephen Mermut, MD, JD, the AMA's board chairman said since "there are currently no clear interventions proposed to ensure a safer and more secure environment for health care providers, the AMA is committed to taking the necessary steps to help shed light on the various protocols, procedures and mechanisms that can be put in place to do so." 

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