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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:51 AM

(Tragic) Sunday Dental Thread...

Last Monday during the lunch hour we heard some fire trucks screaming past our windows down Walnut Street here in Philly. This occurs three or four times daily. Later that afternoon, we received word that a pediatrician had been found in the basement of her home in the 1700 block of Naudain Street, dead, bound, and burned. It was reported that she was affiliated with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), an internationally renowned institution.

The horror which overcame my office was incredible. We all found ourselves saying that we hoped and prayed that she was dead before being lit on fire, in and of itself a horrific thought, born of fear, frustration, and rage. Among other hypotheses floating around in the office was the concept that it might have been an anonymous stalker, or an ex/present lover, a daytime burglary gone wrong, or a serial killer. One of the theories proffered by a staff member was that perhaps it was some insane parent of a child who had not been saved, and that this individual blamed the doctor personally and professionally and had enacted revenge of the most frightening variety.

As it turned out, the miscreant was the exterminator who has confessed to the crime. As a matter of opinion, I do not believe his story which he is telling at this point, but it matters not what I believe.

There are two sidebar issues here which have manifest themselves in the immediacy of the tragedy . First, since Monday, we have seen in our office no fewer than fifteen people who had some contact with the victim. We treat many individuals from CHOP including a number of medical and surgical residents, full-time attending physicians, and staff. In addition, in a sense we have a neighborhood practice, so a number of people mentioned that they knew her from dog-walking and the sidewalk society in general. Almost everyone begins their "small talk" by mentioning the incident and the victim.

Second, those of us who treat individuals of all psychological varieties realized that one of our first instincts was to worry that someone would perceive us as aggressors towards themselves or a family member and attempt to harm us. Ninety nine percent of our relationships are at the very least cordial, but there are some which end on a sour note and the fears, whether real or imagined, were palpable. We number among our patients a small but not insignificant percentage of those diagnosed with some form of mental illness which requires medication. I am not including those who have anxiety disorders or sleep issues, or other manageable problems, but I am referring to schizophrenic, schizotypal, severe manic-depressives, suicidal gesturing and/or legitimate attempts of same, and occasionally pure sociopathy and other major illnesses, many of which are not managed well if at all. Strangely, there was a certain "relief" if you want to call it that, that the murder was not patient-oriented.

A week later, this is still the number one topic of conversation here, and it has shaken the very foundation of the Hospital I am told. The phrase "senseless tragedy" does not begin to define it, but is believe that the real lesson here is that the loss of anyone's life diminishes individuals in particular and society in general.



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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 08:05 AM

1. As I was reading earlier about this horrific tragedy I did wonder about your office and your

proximity to her practice. Very sad PC, and we all join in your sadness. An alert eye on all activity in and around your office is the only wish I can offer at this time and pray for safer times.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 08:15 AM

2. I guess I'm just dense, what's this got to do with dental?

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Response to MrYikes (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 08:41 AM

3. I'm a dentist...

Sorry, I've been writing this thread for about six or seven years so I in appropriately assumed that everyone knew. Won't happen again...

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Response to PCIntern (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:53 AM

6. I was wondering myself, thanks for clearing that up

 

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:12 AM

4. That murder was particularly horrific. Is there some sense of what was behind the exterminator

and his motivation?

And yes, I've experienced first hand the neighborhood/community impacts when a horrific murder(s) of someone well known and respected occurs. In my example it was a serial rapist/murderer that stunned the neighborhood for several weeks before finally being apprehended, but only after having had a well known, well liked small business woman as one of his targets.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:14 AM

5. He claimed that she was being critical of his work

And it escalated. Who will ever know...?

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 12:12 PM

7. Firebug with anger issues and potential substance abuse.

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Response to MH1 (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 12:20 PM

9. Uggh... "They" do walk among us, unfortunately...

I have no words for such an unspeakable atrocity and for the horrific pain experienced by this woman and her surviving family....

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 12:15 PM

8. Horrific incident. Should remind us all to be careful of contractors.

I am always a little nervous if I have a contractor at my house and he* is alone. That's one reason I tend to go with the larger, well-known outfits, although I realize that is no guarantee. This guy might have worked for one of those.

One should always have a plan in case things go awry. Better yet don't be at the house alone, if you can help it. But sometimes it can't be helped.

* every contractor of this type that I've had is male. I look forward to seeing more women in these fields. I don't see a reason why not.

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Response to MH1 (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 12:26 PM

10. I keep a red penlight-looking pepper spray device on a keychain, which I keep in my pocket

if I have to have a stranger in my home for any reason. I invested several years back in one that delivers pin point accuracy (decreases the risk of blow back on myself, or on my dog should I be accosted while out with her) and I think it was one of the best $50 or so dollars I ever spent. I carry it everywhere, but fortunately have never needed it to date.

I wish this doctor had had a fighting chance...

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:12 PM

11. It was such a stupid crime

If the man was offended, all he had to do was leave. There was no rational reason for him to kill this beautiful, brilliant young woman and destroy her body.

I was so sorry this affected you and people you know.

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