Nightly News   |  September 20, 2013

A doctor’s frustration after Navy Yard shooting

Veteran trauma doctor Janis Orlowski, who earlier spent two decades in Chicago, spoke out about the violence at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard this past week, and said the community needs to work together to figure out how to help the mentally ill and those in crisis. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to one of the other front lines in the battle. doctors struggling to save the lives of innocent victims. we started this week with a mass t shooting in washington . one of the enduring moments from the tragic massacre came from a veteran d.c. trauma center doctor who spoke out against violence because she had simply seen enough of it. it turns out that doctor, janice orlowski of the med star washington hospital center spent two days prior to this in chicago. when her comments struck a chord we wanted to hear more. nbc's peter alexander has our report.

>> fourth floor. a man with a shotgun. multiple shots fired. multiple people down.

>> an officer was struck twice in the leg. they are en route to medstar.

>> it was not a nice day. it was a rainy, overcast day.

>> reporter: dr. janice orlowski from medstar was treating a patient when she heard the news.

>> one of the nurses came in and said there is a shooting at the navy yard .

>> reporter: hours later the frustration she expressed struck a chord across the country.

>> i would like you to put my trauma center out of business. i really would. i would like to not be an expert on gunshots.

>> i heard a police officer being interviewed. he said americans are going to have to get used to more mass killings. you know what? i refuse to believe that's our future.

>> reporter: for dr. orlowski who spent two years at a chicago hospital before coming to d.c. this morning's shooting was personal. horrifying she called it. you have 32 years on the front lines of gun violence like this. how do we fix it?

>> we have to talk. we can't just point at washington . we have to talk as a community. we have to talk about what we are going to do for mental health . what do we do for individuals in crisis.

>> reporter: even on this week-day afternoon, new arrivals including a stabbing victim shot in the past 14 h times.

>> it is exhausting work. it's necessary work. we hang in there. we fight the good fight.

>> reporter: days before the d.c. shooting dr. orlowski turned in her resignation. in three weeks she'll leave emergency response to focus on health care policy.

>> what is the lesson we can take away from what we witnessed in d.c. ?

>> i hope the lesson is don't let another 60, 90 days go by and have us forget about the shooting at the navy yard .

>> reporter: peter alexander , nbc news, washington .