Monday, August 4, 2014

Doctor Shoots Armed Patient in Philly Hospital Gun Free Zone

Richard Plotts


A mental-health caseworker is dead and a doctor and his patient wounded after a bizarre gunfight at a gun-free-zoned hospital in Yeadon, Pa., near Philadelphia, Thursday. As police prepare murder charges against the wounded patient, focus is shifting to the gun-toting psychiatrist who stopped the mayhem, likely saving other lives.

Prosecutors say Dr. Lee Silverman opened fire on Richard Plotts, after Mr. Plotts shot his caseworker and barged his way toward Dr. Silverman’s office desk after gaining access to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. Silverman crouched down behind his desk and fetched his gun, which he then fired at Mr. Plotts, wounding him several times before he was subdued.

In the gunfight, Silverman was grazed in the temple by a bullet. The caseworker allegedly shot by Plotts, Theresa Hunt, died from her wounds, police said. She was transporting Plotts to the hospital for treatment. One of Silverman’s colleagues told the Monitor Friday that he was “surprised” that the Mercy Fitzgerald psychiatrist was armed.


  1. This article was written the day after the shooting and more information has come out.

    "Whether the hospital takes administrative action against Silverman for carrying a gun to work will be closely watched by those involved in America’s febrile gun debate."

    The hospital has since come out with a statement of support for Dr. Silverman.

    "The psychiatrist who shot his patient in self-defense at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital on July 24 will see no immediate repercussions despite breaking hospital rules that prohibit firearms on its campus.
    A statement released by the hospital said Dr. Lee Silverman will remain a full member of the Mercy Health System medical staff after shooting his patient, Richard Plotts, in his third floor office of the hospital’s Sister Marie Lanahan Wellness Center.
    “We are praying for his speedy recovery and return to practice,” said the statement, which also addressed reviewing security policies."

    And law enforcement officials seem to have certainly not avoided praising Dr. Silverman's use of deadly force,

    "District Attorney Jack Whelan lauded Silverman using his gun despite breaking hospital rules saying, “he'd be dead today and I believe other people in that facility would be dead.”

    The only thing I can suggest to Dr. Silverman to never forget this rule for a gunfight,

    24. Do not attend a gun fight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than “4″.

    Kudos to Dr. Silverman

  2. One potential mass shooter stopped by an armed gunloon who didn't care what the law said about a hospital being a gun free zone. Good guy or vigilante freak?

  3. One of Silverman’s colleagues told the Monitor Friday that he was “surprised” that the Mercy Fitzgerald psychiatrist was armed.

    I bet Mr. Plotts was also surprised to find out he was armed.

  4. As usual the gun loons support and promote law breaking, again.

    1. The doctor did not break any laws. Company policy is not law. But even the company supports breaking company policy as they are standing on the side of the good doctor.

  5. Exactly why most who choose to lawfully carry a firearm have and will continue to lawfully choose to reject the irrational and dangerous request or policy's of businesses who seek to placate those who work towards the repeal of our SA rights and the confiscation of firearms from those who THEY find unworthy of said rights. Had myself a burrito at chipotle on Saturday and it was delicious as usual.

    Good for this doctor he deserves a raise.


  6. Naturally the gun rights fanatics love this story, especially the part about the hospital deciding to not punish the doctor for violating their policy. But the fact remains, this is an anecdotal story, a rare anecdotal story. Guns in the workplace, like guns anywhere, do more harm than good. For every story of a scofflaw gun owner saving the day, we have several incidents of gun misuse by those same gun owners.

    1. "But the fact remains, this is an anecdotal story, a rare anecdotal story."

      A good percentage of the stories posted here are anecdotal Mike. As for it being a rare case, there are actually a fair number of reports of defensive gun uses.
      As for the rarity of defensive gun uses in a gun free zone, that's a no brainer. The vast majority of permit holders respect the property rights of those who legally post as a gun free zone. The criminals, not so much. This pretty much guarantees that intervention by a permit holder will remain quite low in posted gun free zones.
      The hospital now has an interesting leadership challenge. Normally, after an event like this, the business says, "thank god no one else was hurt, and by the way, your fired because you violated company policy".
      This business, (so far) has said they would be welcoming the permit holder back to work. Unless they intend to change their policy, they have just invalidated their policy.

    2. The numerous number of stories makes them more than anecdotal, and the fact that these stories are publicly reported by law enforcement makes them true, not made up, or imaginary.

    3. Most likely the policy will be: if you get caught with a gun on hospital grounds, you're fired. If you get caught with a gun on hospital grounds because you used it to save your life by stopping a spree shooting and become a hero, it's all good.

    4. "The numerous number of stories makes them more than anecdotal, and the fact that these stories are publicly reported by law enforcement makes them true, not made up, or imaginary."

      Anon, the number of stories posted here highlighting misuse of firearms versus the stories defensive gun uses is not data. What goes in Mike's blog is determined by Mike, and since he advocates for stricter gun laws, the ratio supports that. Mike's blog, Mike's rules. Just like you'll find more legitimate uses of firearms on a pro-gun blog. You cant turn biased ratios as evidenced on either blog and declare them as data.
      One has but to look at Laci's frequent postings of numbers of the Gun Violence Archive which seems to base their numbers on published news stories to see that there are hundreds of defensive gun uses this year so far.
      In fact, a recent study ordered by the president puts defensive gun uses at a pretty high number,

      "Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field."

    5. ss is quite right. The stories posted here cannot be taken for data, however, from the very beginning I have been fascinated by the data that is generated by Google. The misuse of firearms so far outnumbers the defensive use on the internet that it's obvious to me what the truth is. The gun rights folks have various ways of explaining this away - the news reporters are biased, is the most common one, as if they were hiding DGU stories away. The other is the absurd claim that 95% of all DGUs are the brandishing kind and therefore don't make the news at all.

      Guns do more harm than good.

  7. an·ec·do·tal
    adjective: anecdotal

    (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.
    "while there was much anecdotal evidence there was little hard fact"
    characterized by or fond of telling anecdotes.
    "her book is anecdotal and chatty"
    (of a painting) depicting small narrative incidents.
    "nineteenth-century French anecdotal paintings"

    Using the dictionary definition, the stories Mike posts are not lies and usually come from authoritative sources (police, crime reporters, court records, etc.) repeating FACTS. The number of stories does not reflect a small narrative. The stories are not from personal accounts. I never made a comment about Mike's obvious slant, nor did I say anything about defensive gun use. Again, you twist to infer something I never said. It is you who misused the word anecdotal.

    1. Thanks for that definition. I'll have to be more careful how I use that word too.

    2. "Using the dictionary definition, the stories Mike posts are not lies and usually come from authoritative sources (police, crime reporters, court records, etc.) repeating FACTS."

      Anon, I never suggested that the articles Mike has posted were untrue. Actually you appeared to infer that the large number of articles Mike posted about misuse of guns versus the small number he posts showing legitimate defensive gun uses elevates it to something more than anecdotal evidence. Let me repeat your statement again,

      "The numerous number of stories makes them more than anecdotal, and the fact that these stories are publicly reported by law enforcement makes them true, not made up, or imaginary. "

      This is Mike's blog and he tailors its format to convey his opinion on a particular subject. And that's ok. Just as you'd find someone who has a pro-gun blog will slant his content to convey his feelings. And that's ok too.
      However, trying to use the ratio of articles showing proper use versus misuse Mike posts as data doesn't work, just as would using a ratio of posts on a pro-gun blog.

    3. When you used the word anecdotal, you implied that Mike's stories are not true and merely a small narrative by the words definition. Yes, I would say both those accusations about Mike's posts are untrue.

    4. Actually, Mike first used the word. I originally replied in regards to his use of the word. Then you jumped in. Go up to my first comment where I used the word and you'll see its in response to Mike's use of it.
      And Mike seems to agree with me. At least at the time.

    5. "A good percentage of the stories posted here are anecdotal Mike."

      Your words not Mike's words. Why didn't you point out to Mike that anecdotal means untrue, or not verified as factual? YOU misused the word, but cannot just admit that. Maybe it's because you know the meaning and misused it on purpose to infer Mike's posts are not truthful. That would be in line with your twisting word tactics that mislead, confuse, or in my case you actually lie to make a false point.

    6. "Why didn't you point out to Mike that anecdotal means untrue, or not verified as factual?"

      Being anecdotal doesn't mean it isn't untrue either. Mike tends to use stories from credible media sources. And by allowing comments on his blog, actually allows people identify errors. When these are pointed out, it usually gets corrected.
      Mikes comment that this story was an anecdotal story seemed to imply that it didn't really count. So I pointed out that this story was just as valid as many of the stories documenting misuse of firearms he posts.
      Your comment seemed to imply that if you have enough anecdotes piled up, they become more than what they are. And I did question that. In fact, when you supplied the definition the word, you used it to prove that Mikes posts aren't lies.
      Mike actually used the word properly, and so did I. An anecdote can be true or false. You implied that piling up enough anecdotes somehow make them data. I found fault in that. And Mike also seemed to get it. You seem to be having a problem getting it though.

    7. Since your comments have proven to be lies (multiple times) you are the one who doesn't get it. The definition says, based on personal accounts, which I pointed out is not the case when Mike posts a story. You continue your gun loon tactics of twisting words.

    8. Its only twisted in your own twisted mind

    9. Not twisted in my mind, that's why I referred to dictionary definition.

  8. This good doc saves the day, and by all other reports, many other lives of potential victims, and you still advocate the disarming of good people instead of addressing the bad guy issue. Sometimes you can still be the good guy by NOT following these irrational rules of disarmament for everyone as the obvious has, again, occurred. Criminal NEVER follow the rules!

    "Guns do more harm than good"

    Only in the WRONG hands, address that. Wont you Mike?

    1. I address that continually. Aren't you paying attention?

      One point that you're either conveniently forgetting or perhaps you're new around here and haven't read it yet is this, bad guys get their guns from good guys. Almost every single gun used in a crime started out the lawful property of one of you good-guy gun owners. That's why gun control laws need to be aimed at you and not the criminals, who, as you never tire of telling us, don't obey the law anyway.

  9. That is the most ridiculous comment I have read yet, laws not aimed at criminals. With your way of thinking its no wonder we have so many criminals. Or don't you realize that criminals steal guns, even from gun stores and LEOs. How is that the good guys fault? The ATF and their so called "sting" operations that promoted gun theft and had gotten so bad that the courts had to step in and stop it? Straw sellers who had the capability to sell guns to prohibited persons are in fact criminals themselves by their actions? The ATFs failure to prosecute thousands of falsified applications is the fault of the good guy?

    Come on Mike, even you should see reality, not bullshit and protecting the criminal. And making laws or changing laws that make lawful gun owners criminals overnight for having done nothing wrong in their life is no answer either.

    So how about addressing the CRIMINAL element. What say you Mike?

    1. There are about half-a-million guns stolen each year. Most are taken from private homes in which the responsible gun owner DID NOT practice simple safe storage that would defeat most thieves. That's how it's their fault.

      The other way is when highly responsible gun owners sell guns without conducting a background check on the buyer. Many of those buyers are criminals but to say the seller is responsible for this is an outrage to guys like you.

      Then we have the crooked FFL guys, who turn a blind eye to obvious straw purchasers or worse yet actually sell guns out the back door and claim they got lost in the rare cases in which they are asked.

      So, yes, gun control laws like safe storage laws and universal background checks are aimed at law abiding citizens, most of whom will fully comply.

    2. Even if the home owner had his or her guns secured with a level equal to Ft Knox and we're still stolen, that still would be the fault of the gun owner according to you Mike and never the fault of the criminal. Place the blame where it belongs instead of where your hate lies. And no, most will not comply nor should they. The only way universal back ground checks would ever work is with registration and that's against federal law. And the very reason it couldn't be passed in the first place.

    3. That's not true. I would not fault the gun owner who had his guns stolen out of a gun safe that was breached. But I do fault the guy who has no safe and gets his guns stolen. And that fault has nothing to do with the thief being in the wrong too. The one is guilty of failing to secure his guns the other is guilty of stealing.

      Your "against federal law" argument doesn't seem to be standing in the way of the marijuana industry. In the same way, when the country comes to its senses, there will be proper gun control, including registration, licensing and background check requirements on all transfers.