Dr. Janis Orlowski is a remarkable doctor and hospital leader. She has been the chief operating officer/chief medical officer of the Medstar Washington Hospital Center, the region’s largest hospital with the most prominent trauma center in the area. I came to know Dr. Orlowski when I served as a member of the hospital board. She has been a great friend as well as wonderful supporter of Trinity’s initiatives in healthcare education.
Earlier today, in the aftermath of the shootings at the Navy Yard, Dr. Orlowski was thrust into a role that too many hospital leaders have found themselves playing — hosting a press conference while trying to make sense of massive violence, explaining the care extended to trauma visions even while coping with their own sense of anger, horror and vulnerability at one more senseless tragedy. Some of the victims of today’s shootings were taken to the trauma center at WHC.
As she spoke to the media today, Dr. Orlowski made a statement that should be emblazoned on front pages everywhere. Referring to the repeated instances of gun violence, she said, “There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate.” Then she added, with emotion and conviction:
“I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots. Let’s get rid of this. This is not America.”
Amen to that! How many more times will this nation gather in the ritual of shock, anger, despair, mourning and the long empty aftermath of yet one more mass shooting?
Our hearts are with all of the families who are devastated by the violence at the Navy Yard. We all are shocked, saddened and deeply frustrated that even in a place that should have been among the safest in our city, the evil of gun violence could not be stopped. We must find our way through this ongoing nightmare of violence to a permanent solution to this depravity.
As Dr. Orlowski said: Let’s put the trauma centers out of business. Let’s get rid of this instinct to violence. This is not America!
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See my blog on the Huffington Post “The Sum of All Salaries”