- The Washington Times - Monday, September 20, 2010


As a doctor who has treated thousands of patients, I could not rationalize the news of a man shooting his mother’s surgeon (“Gunman wounds surgeon at Johns Hopkins,” Nation, Friday).

Patients pressure doctors by demanding painkillers, antibiotics, unnecessary scans. I rationalize this behavior based upon a patient’s right to be involved in his care. Doctors get dragged into frivolous lawsuits - never mind. I rationalize that the legal system is simply protecting the patient’s rights against incompetent physicians. When insurance companies delay and deny claims to increase their profits, I don’t even try to rationalize and instead focus on preserving the finest tradition of my calling.

And then a patient’s family member pulls a gun and shoots the doctor. Whether this was an insane anomaly or a new trend triggered by “Grey’s Anatomy,” there is no way to rationalize this.

Are we living in times when the oath to “‘first do no harm” should be taken by both parties - doctors and patients?


Clinical associate professor

University of Maryland School of Medicine




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