Minnesota medical workers say threats of violence are nothing new

Members of Minnesota’s medical community headed to work with heavy hearts Wednesday as they processed that professionals like them were gunned down while trying to heal others.

Some healthcare workers say threats against them are happening more often than some might think.

Dr. Ilene Moore, a pediatrician and the medical director at Minnesota Community Care, said she was shocked and devastated by Tuesday’s news that a man opened fire at a Buffalo health clinic, killing one and injuring four others. 

"It hit me like I had a trauma response thinking of all the colleagues, all the healthcare providers are in this together," said Moore.

Several medical professionals say they aren’t able to share their identities but wanted to make their experiences public.

"I’ve had someone threaten to come back with a knife and attack me and other people who have cared for that person," said one medical professional.

"My first thought was it could’ve been any of us that this could just as easily have happened at my clinic or really any clinic," another said.

The emotional and mental toll that the medical community feels right now can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, professionals say.

"It will cause acute stress for many people and the concern is it will go on if not managed. It could go on to even post-traumatic stress and so the time is now to really get support," said Dr. Kaz Nelson, the associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Health care workers say their work must go on and they cannot live in fear.

"Our patients show up in a way that is inspiring day after day and, if they show up to the clinic, I owe it to them to make it there too," said Moore.