'Be Like Mike': Finding Meaning in Tragedy
(HealthDay News) — The tragic shooting of surgeon Michael Davidson can be used as an opportunity to find meaning in tragedy, according to a perspective piece published online Feb. 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Lisa Rosenbaum, M.D., a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, describes the case of a hospital-related shooting, where surgeon Michael Davidson was shot and killed by the son of a patient who had died.
Rosenbaum notes that fear pervaded the medical community in the days following the shooting. However, violence against physicians is rare in the United States, with about 154 hospital-related shootings between 2000 and 2011 (physicians and nurses were victims in 3 and 5 percent of cases, respectively). She describes how a colleague spoke at the funeral and encouraged others to "be like Mike," who took on the highest risk patients, gave patients his time, and aimed to advance clinical care by working with interventional cardiologists seeking to extend lives in cases others deemed hopeless.
"To be like Mike is to fear not threats to one's safety, but the possibility of hurting others and of failing to sustain life when there is still life to be sustained. And it is to help our patients make meaning of their losses," Rosenbaum writes. "Insofar as these have always been physicians' goals and values, finding meaning in this tragedy will mean not changing at all."