Dear Kessler Women’s Healthcare Patient-
Several of your Kessler Docs were present on the Mother Baby and Labor and Delivery units at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in the immediate aftermath of the October 22nd horrific shooting resulting in the loss of two of our work family.
In the early days of chaos and confusion there was much reported in the media that was inaccurate. Most of that has been corrected by this point, but my intimate knowledge of the facts and how they differed from what was reported has shaken my faith in our current state of the media. I now question early reporting in a way I never did before understanding how the rush to report something sometimes supersedes the need to be correct.
The most frustrating to ingest are those reports critical of the hospital. I have practiced as a private practitioner in association with MDMC since my residency, a total of 23 years. As with all hospitals, security is constantly evaluated and improved. However, we all know that no place can ever be completely protected from the intersection of gun violence, domestic violence, and violence against healthcare workers that we witnessed in this crime. The fault lies with the perpetrator and the policies that allowed him his freedom as well as access to a gun.
What you may not know, is that in medicine every unexpected outcome is looked at from every angle to investigate what we can do to prevent another such occurrence in the future. This process never assumes that anything was done inappropriately. It is purposefully a non-punitive process so that freedom of thought can be shared in order to cultivate a culture of constant improvement. This process is how the medical field lives up to our commitment to our patients to constantly do better. Your lives literally depend on our ability to do this successfully. MDMC has taken the same approach with this incident. There will be changes, yes, but only because in medicine we live in a constant state of attempted improvement.
Emotionally, the staff, nurses, physicians, department leadership, hospital administration, and system administration have all lifted each other up in support. I can’t imagine spending these days with any other than these people whom I consider part of my family. I grew up as a doctor at Methodist in my residency, I had my own children here, and one day I will retire looking back on my years here with love. I knew from those initial moments on the unit that fateful Saturday that this team of amazing human beings would grow closer in the shadow of tragedy and we have.
What I didn’t know was the surrounding community’s commitment to MDMC. Oak Cliff is part of the reason I stayed here after residency. It’s quirky, it’s bohemian, it’s beautiful and Methodist serves those who live here with pride. Since that Saturday, I have felt so deeply this community’s love for us in return, for this hospital and for all members of our healthcare team. There are more examples of that love than I can possibly write here, but I will say that we have not gone a moment without feeling it. Cards, letters, flowers, food, cookies (so many cookies!), donations for the staff most directly impacted and donations for the families of Annette and Jackie are just the few I can think of as I write.
In addition, our wider community of healthcare has shown us their love in similar ways. Hospitals from throughout the country have reached out in support across the miles to make sure we have felt their love. I don’t know how we can possibly thank everyone who has lifted us.
All of this support in our time of recovery from trauma has allowed us to continue to care for our patients. We still work as an amazing team to bring new life into this world and to teach new families how to care for their little ones before sending them back out to start new chapters in their lives.
Life, as they say, must go on and, in our hearts, we know that Annette and Jackie would have it no other way.
With so much gratitude,
Theresa Patton, MD
Proud Maternal Medical Director, MDMC
Proud Partner, Kessler Women’s Healthcare
Proud Business Owner in Oak Cliff, TX