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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Did Armed Doctor Save Lives?

Posted by on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:09 AM
  • 31 Replies

DARBY, Pa. (AP) — Authorities are attempting to determine why a patient fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex in a Philadelphia suburb and whether a psychiatrist who pulled out his own gun and wounded the patient had concerns about him.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office Thursday afternoon with patient Richard Plotts, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said.

"We do believe that there were some issues between the doctor and the patient, but whether or not he actually feared him is unclear," Whelan said.

The prosecutor identified the caseworker killed at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital as Theresa Hunt, 53, of Philadelphia. Hunt had accompanied Plotts to an appointment with Silverman at a psychiatric crisis center adjacent to the hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia, authorities said.

"When the caseworker was shot, (Silverman) crouched down behind the desk to avoid him being shot," Whelan said. "He was able to reach for his weapon, and realizing it was a life or death situation, was able to engage the defendant in the exchange of gunfire."

A struggle ensued and spilled out into the hallway, Whelan said. Another doctor and a caseworker jumped in to help Silverman and secure Plotts' weapon, he said.

The motive for the shooting remained unclear. Whelan said Plotts, of Upper Darby, might have had issues with the doctor over his treatment plan. It is not known, however, if that is why Silverman was armed, apparently against hospital policy.

Whelan said Plotts, 49, was underwent surgery Thursday night at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Silverman was treated and released. Telephone calls to the doctor's home went unanswered.

A spokeswoman for the Mercy Health System said the hospital has a policy barring anyone except on-duty law enforcement officers from carrying weapons on its campus.

But Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that "without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives."

"Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition," the chief said.

Plotts does not have a listed home phone number. Court records in Delaware County show a man of the same name and age with a lengthy criminal record, but Whelan was unsure if it was the same person.

Two guns were recovered from the scene, Whelan said.

Staff members had heard loud arguing inside Silverman's office during the appointment. They opened the door and noticed the patient had a gun pointed at the doctor, so they quietly closed the door and dialed 911, Whelan said. Gunshots were heard a short time later, just before 2:30 p.m.

Plotts, severely wounded from several shots, emerged from the office, and another doctor and a caseworker helped wrestle him to the floor of the hallway and grabbed his weapon, Whelan said.

"They acted vigilantly. They acted bravely," he said.

The exchange of gunfire occurred on the third floor of the Wellness Center at Mercy Fitzgerald, a 204-bed community teaching hospital. Authorities said there are no surveillance cameras in the doctor's office or the waiting area outside. They also said the center had no metal detectors.

Patients waiting in the first-floor lobby reported a tense scene when police arrived and ordered everyone out. Most of the patients were elderly.

"I dozed off, and I heard the cop shouting, 'Come on, come on, get out!'" said Millicent Russell, of Lansdowne, who was waiting for a 3 p.m. appointment. "There were people with walkers and canes and stuff. All these cops were outside running here and there with these guns."


by on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:09 AM
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turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:32 AM

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.

jcrew6
by Gold Member on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:47 AM
3 moms liked this

Considering the Police Chief was there as they interviewed witnesses, etc.  I think it is highly likely that the chief's statement is true. 

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:49 AM
4 moms liked this
And if he had not been injured, he may not have been taken down before killing innocent people. I am sure the fact that he was shot and stumbled out into the hall instead of stalking out into the hall, gun drawn and at the ready, made him a much easier tackle.

Quoting turtle68:

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.

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turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:55 AM
2 moms liked this

maybe...still doesnt change the fact that it was the unarmed guys who disarmed him ...saving lives:-)

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: And if he had not been injured, he may not have been taken down before killing innocent people. I am sure the fact that he was shot and stumbled out into the hall instead of stalking out into the hall, gun drawn and at the ready, made him a much easier tackle.
Quoting turtle68:

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.


LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Jul. 26, 2014 at 8:10 AM
2 moms liked this
Nor does it change that he played a significant, even critical, role in saving those lives by wounding the man. The disarmed guys may very well have not had their opportunity without the armed guy.
Quoting turtle68:

maybe...still doesnt change the fact that it was the unarmed guys who disarmed him ...saving lives:-)

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: And if he had not been injured, he may not have been taken down before killing innocent people. I am sure the fact that he was shot and stumbled out into the hall instead of stalking out into the hall, gun drawn and at the ready, made him a much easier tackle.



Quoting turtle68:

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.

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Debmomto2girls
by Platinum Member on Jul. 26, 2014 at 8:22 AM
4 moms liked this
If the doctor had not shot him, the others could not have tackled him. If they could, they would have done it sooner. The patient could have very well opened fire in the waiting
Room after killing the doctor. I don't blame the doctor. I'm not advocating healthcare workers start arming themselves. But, this was probably a patient who wasn't getting the medication he wanted and has a mental disorder. The doctor probably knew he was going to blow. I've seen a patient explode in anger and it is scary. There is no "talking down" some patients.
jcrew6
by Gold Member on Jul. 26, 2014 at 8:24 AM
2 moms liked this

Yeah, I think about the mass shootings where people are reported as trying to stop the assailant and they are shot.  I think the Dr. shooting the assailant slowed him down dramatically. 

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: Nor does it change that he played a significant, even critical, role in saving those lives by wounding the man. The disarmed guys may very well have not had their opportunity without the armed guy.
Quoting turtle68:

maybe...still doesnt change the fact that it was the unarmed guys who disarmed him ...saving lives:-)

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: And if he had not been injured, he may not have been taken down before killing innocent people. I am sure the fact that he was shot and stumbled out into the hall instead of stalking out into the hall, gun drawn and at the ready, made him a much easier tackle.
Quoting turtle68:

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.


candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 26, 2014 at 8:28 AM

 I agree.

Quoting jcrew6:

Yeah, I think about the mass shootings where people are reported as trying to stop the assailant and they are shot.  I think the Dr. shooting the assailant slowed him down dramatically. 

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: Nor does it change that he played a significant, even critical, role in saving those lives by wounding the man. The disarmed guys may very well have not had their opportunity without the armed guy.
Quoting turtle68:

maybe...still doesnt change the fact that it was the unarmed guys who disarmed him ...saving lives:-)

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: And if he had not been injured, he may not have been taken down before killing innocent people. I am sure the fact that he was shot and stumbled out into the hall instead of stalking out into the hall, gun drawn and at the ready, made him a much easier tackle.
Quoting turtle68:

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.

 

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Jul. 26, 2014 at 9:56 AM
4 moms liked this
True. I think turtle might actually sprain something if she acknowledged a gun helped to bring about a positive outcome, though, so I am not shocked by her need to spin it to ignore that aspect completely.

Quoting jcrew6:

Yeah, I think about the mass shootings where people are reported as trying to stop the assailant and they are shot.  I think the Dr. shooting the assailant slowed him down dramatically. 

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: Nor does it change that he played a significant, even critical, role in saving those lives by wounding the man. The disarmed guys may very well have not had their opportunity without the armed guy.
Quoting turtle68:

maybe...still doesnt change the fact that it was the unarmed guys who disarmed him ...saving lives:-)

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: And if he had not been injured, he may not have been taken down before killing innocent people. I am sure the fact that he was shot and stumbled out into the hall instead of stalking out into the hall, gun drawn and at the ready, made him a much easier tackle.

Quoting turtle68:

sounded like the unarmed guys were the ones to wrestle the patient and disarm him....even after he was shot repeatedly...the gunman still managed to get out to where there were other people, but the two unarmed guys took the gun off him.

I would say they saved lives....not the doctor.  He injured the gunman.

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Della529
by Matlock on Jul. 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM
3 moms liked this

With emotional/mental issues and a lengthy criminal record, he shouldn't have even had a gun. Question is how did he get one?

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