Slain Surgeon: Shock Spreads

Article

The hospital shooting death of Boston cardiac surgeon Michael Davidson, MD, 44, has shocked the cardiology world-far beyond his colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital where he was director of endovascular cardiac surgery. On a remembrance page and in formal statements, tributes are pouring in. Davidson, a respected innovator in heart valve replacement, died late Jan. 20, hours after he was shot by the son of a former patient who then turned his gun on himself.He leaves his wife Teri Davidson, who is 7 months pregnant, and 3 children ages 2 to 9.

The hospital shooting death of Boston cardiac surgeon Michael Davidson, 44, MD has shocked the cardiology world—far beyond his colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he was director of endovascular cardiac surgery.

Davidson died in a hospital operating room late Jan. 20, hours after he was shot by the son of a former patient who then turned his gun on himself.

He leaves his wife Teri Davidson, who is 7 months pregnant, and 3 children ages 2 to 9.

At the American College of Cardiologists, CEO Shal Jacobovitz said, ““The members and staff of the American College of Cardiology are shocked and profoundly saddened by the tragic shooting at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.” He added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Davidson.”

At the New England Journal of Medicine’s “cardioexchange” doctors’ blog, physicians posted their sentiments.

An innovator in the field of valve replacement, Davidson performed the first percutaneous valve replacement. Davidson was a frequent contributor to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, including recent pieces on the “hybrid operating room” and on complications with transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve replacement. In a conference presentation, Davidson outlined the pro’s and con’s of various valve procedures.

The hospital has set up a remembrance page and guestbook.There is also a fund for his family.

The assailant was identified as Stephen Pascari, 55, an accountant whose late mother was a patient of Davidson’s. Pascari apparently harbored deep anger towards the medical system. When his father died of a heart attack in 2011, Pascari was so upset that the hospital billed the family about $8,000 for the 911 call and futile attempts to revive him in the hospital emergency room, that he sent the bills to his US senator. He also contacted a local news columnist saying hospitals are overbilling Medicare routinely.

Pascari had a permit for the gun. Though the death had some asking if hospitals should use metal detectors, the general sentiment has long been that hospitals do not want them.

With few if any lessons to be drawn from the shooting, other than renewed calls for gun control, the main reaction among colleagues has been grief and horror.

“This has shaken us all,” New Haven, CT, cardiologist Harlan Krumholz wrote on the cardioexchange blog.

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