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Terror in Tulsa
Last month’s deadly mass shooting on the campus of the Saint Francis Health System was a troubling reminder of the dangers vulnerable healthcare professionals face in the workplace.
Outpatient Surgery Editors
First Responders
FIRST RESPONDERS Members of the Tulsa Police Department were on the scene of the shooting in minutes and their quick response might have saved countless lives.   |   Tulsa Police Department

The day was like any other to the physicians and staff who bustled about the Warren Clinic, the office space of an orthopedic medical group on the campus of Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Okla. Shortly before 5 p.m. on June 1, spine surgeon Preston Phillips, MD, was in an exam room with a couple, talking to the husband about his chronic back issues. As they discussed treatment options, the door cracked open and Michael Louis, 45, slipped inside the room. Mr. Louis, who was carrying an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, stared at his intended target. He fired several rounds into Dr. Phillips, but miraculously spared the couple’s lives.

Dr. Phillips had performed spine surgery on Mr. Louis on May 19. In the weeks that followed, Mr. Louis experienced pain and called Dr. Phillips’ office multiple times over a period of several days to complain and ask for relief. On the morning of the shooting, he called once more before arriving several hours later to hunt down Dr. Phillips.

Members of the Tulsa Police Department who swarmed the Saint Francis campus minutes after receiving calls about shots being fired discovered Mr. Louis in the clinic’s lobby, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A letter found on his body said he blamed Dr. Phillips for the pain he experienced after surgery and noted his intent to kill him and anyone who got in his way. Mr. Louis legally purchased the semi-automatic rifle from a local gun store hours before the shooting and had bought the semi-automatic pistol at a pawn shop on May 29.

As officers began to clear the office complex, they came across the bodies of the shooter’s other victims — sports medicine specialist Stephanie Husen, DO, receptionist Amanda Glenn and William Love, who was visiting the clinic and was reportedly shot while barricading a door so others could escape.

In the days that followed the shooting, shattered members of the Saint Francis Health System tried to cope with the senseless tragedy and mourned the loss of their fallen colleagues. Healthcare professionals across the country expressed their dismay that a patient who was distraught over the amount of postoperative pain he had to endure would kill four innocent people and were left to worry about their personal safety amid increasing incidences of workplace violence.

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