World physicians acknowledge tragic loss of doctor in fatal hospital shooting

(23.01.2015) The World Medical Association extends its deepest condolences to the family of cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Michael Davidson, who was tragically shot twice and later died this week, while working at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, USA. Dr. Davidson died from injuries by a gunman who confronted him near his office, and who then fatally shot himself.

This most recent deadly attack on a physician in the USA comes despite a United Nations General Assembly resolution last year urging governments to act to ensure the safety of health care staff worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, serious acts and threats of violence have been increasing worldwide in the last two years both in areas of conflict and peace.

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, Chair of the WMA Council, said: ‘This event is a tragedy for the whole medical community. Dr. Davidson had devoted his life to help people and as fellow physicians we are deeply saddened by the loss to his family and society at large.

The WMA continues to call for a safe working environment free of violence for all physicians and health care personnel throughout the world. We cannot accept and must not tolerate any form of violence in the workplace which is abhorrent. Employing authorities must ensure that there is adequate security, preparedness training and resources available to stop such attacks. And governments must ensure laws specifically to codify strict penalties on those guilty of such violent crimes'.