John Hopkins' Shooting Highlights Importance of Legal Recourse for Patients and Their Families

I have often worried that a disgruntled patient, or their family member, who lacked adequate recourse might resort to drastic measures to resolve their situation. Take, for example, the recent shooting at John Hopkins Hospital. A gunman, upset over his mother’s medical condition, opened fire in the hospital on Thursday morning, wounding a doctor, and killing his mother and himself.

I in no way condone this man’s actions. However, news reports are vague about what actually happened. According to news reports, Warren Davis, age 50, grew “overwhelmed” when the doctor was telling him about the care of his mother, Jean Davis. At that point, he apparently took a semi-automatic handgun out of his waistband and shot Dr. David Cohen, an orthopedic physician who specializes in spine surgery, osteoporosis, and scoliosis. Michelle Burrell, an employee at the hospital’s coffee shop, recently spoke with the Associated Press and said she was told by hospital employees that Mr. Davis was upset that his mother was “paralyzed by the doctor”, apparently during surgery.

Thankfully, Dr. Cohen was rushed to the OR and is expected to make a full recovery. However, I hope that tort reformers take this kind of tragic situations into consideration when they push their agenda so that the same thing doesn’t happen again.

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