A Pennsylvania hospital system will not punish a psychiatrist that shot a patient who had just murdered his caseworker in the doctor’s office.
Mercy Health System posted the following status to their Facebook page (our bold below):
We are thankful for the swift action of Dr. Lee Silverman, Dr. Jeffrey Dekret, John D’Alonzo and the other colleagues and visitors who took brave and difficult action during yesterday’s tragic event. We extend our condolences to Theresa Hunt’s family, and we are praying for Dr. Silverman’s speedy recovery. We look forward to Dr. Silverman’s return to serving patients at our hospital. We will do all we can to support the victims during this difficult time.
We continue to work with the Delaware County authorities to understand fully the details of the event. We are reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure a safe environment. We are committed to serving as a compassionate and healing presence in our communities, and we are grateful for the outpouring of community support.
Dr. Silverman pulled a concealed handgun and engaged in a desk-length firefight with psychiatric patient Richard Plotts after Plotts draw a handgun and shot and killed his caseworker Theresa Hunt. Plotts—who was a convicted felon with a violent history who could not obtain a firearm through legal channels—then fired at Dr. Silverman, and one shot grazed Silverman’s head as he crouched behind his desk for cover. Silverman, who had a concealed carry permit, then emptied his gun at Plotts, hitting him twice in the chest and in one arm. Other hospital staff then rushed the wounded Plotts and disarmed him before attending to Dr. Silverman’s head wound.
Plotts was in critical condition after the incident and is expected to survive. He will be charged with first and third degree murder in the killing of Hunt, and with attempted murder for the shooting of Silverman.
Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that Silverman probably saved many lives by shooting Plotts, who had 39 rounds of ammunition in his pockets and who would have faced disarmed staff and patients in the hospital, which was a “gun free zone.”
Silverman could potentially have been fired for violating Mercy’s weapons policy, but it appears that they know they would have faced a substantial backlash for firing the doctor, considering that his actions most likely prevented a murder from turning into a massacre.
We suspect that Dr. Silverman will continue to concealed carry unless Mercy installs metal detectors at all entrances along with armed security, and we further suspect that Dr. Silverman will not be alone in carrying concealed.