Hundreds Mourn Surgeon Fatally Shot At Boston's Brigham And Women's Hospital

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A woman wears a button honoring Michael Davidson at his funeral service Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A woman wears a button honoring Michael Davidson at his funeral service Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The cardiac surgeon killed inside Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston this week was laid to rest on Friday.

More than a thousand people gathered at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley Friday to pay their respects to Dr. Michael Davidson, who was fatally shot by a patient's son on Tuesday.

Some wore buttons with Davidson's initials, MJD, in a heart. Six buses brought people from Brigham and Women's, and when Rabbi Joel Sisenwine asked all the doctors and caregivers to rise, at least half the room stood.

Several colleagues and friends of Davidson's spoke, as did Davidson's father, Robert, a well-known cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He spoke of the hopeful flight he and his wife took to Boston Tuesday after they received news that their son had been shot — hopeful because Davidson's parents thought when they boarded the plane that he would live.

"When he was young, he said he wanted to follow in my footsteps," Robert Davidson said. "But wherever I walked, he ran."

Davidson's mother, Susan, made a poignant reference to her son's chosen profession as a cardiac surgeon. "My heart is broken, and only Michael can fix it," she said.

Davidson's widow, Terri Halperin, is a plastic surgeon. She expressed her shock at Davidson's death coming at the hands of a patient's son.

"Surgeons are not known for their bedside manner, but Michael had it in spades," Halperin said. "That's why the fact that a patient's family member would take Michael away from us makes it all the more devastating."

Halperin and Davidson had an unusual love story. Halperin revealed that, as many people do, she and Davidson faced rough times in their marriage.

"We actually took it one step further and got divorced," Halperin said. "Two years later, we realized the mistake we had made."

The couple remarried five years ago in the same sanctuary where Davidson's funeral was held Friday. Halperin said Davidson was looking forward to the birth of their fourth child, a baby girl, due in April.

"He would have said that his children were the greatest gifts he's leaving on this earth," she said.

"He lives on in the smiles" of their children, Halperin added.

As the simple pine casket was carried out of the temple, Halperin placed her hand on it, walking by its side.


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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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