‘I just spoke from the heart,’ says Dr. Orlowski of her plea to end gun violence


The doctor who, in her own words, “touched a chord in America,” is standing by her impassioned plea to end the kind of extreme gun violence seen on Monday that put three Navy Yard shooting victims in her care.

“I just spoke from the heart,” said Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer at the Washington Hospital Center, to MSNBC Tuesday. “I know that we always point to Washington and say, ‘They have to do something,’ or, ‘Something has to be done.’ But you know what? We have to do something. We need to do something to stop this senseless violence.”

Orlowski’s hospital received three victims who were wounded in Monday’s attack, when 34-year-old Aaron Alexis appeared to have shot his way into Building 197 of the Navy Yard complex, before opening fire from a fourth-floor balcony, authorities and witnesses said. Twelve people were killed by Alexis, who was also slain in a shootout with police. Three shooting victims, including one law enforcement official, were rushed to Medstar Washington Hospital Center, where Orlowski delivered her emotional plea.

“There’s something wrong here when we have these multiples shootings, these multiple injuries, there’s something wrong,” she said on Monday. “I’d like you to put my trauma center out of business.”

A day later, Orlowski conceded that her words may have sounded trite, but that the sentiment behind them needed to be heard.

“I am concerned that [what I said] might not have any lasting effect but, you know what, if we don’t say something, if we don’t speak out, then shame on us,” said Orlowski, still visibly emotional from Monday’s traumatic events. “Wasn’t planned, wasn’t intended, but I mean every word of it.”

Orlowski reported that all three of her patients were doing well, and that one woman even asked this morning if she could go home.

'I just spoke from the heart,' says Dr. Orlowski of her plea to end gun violence