On August 26, Alan Christopher Pean, 26, checked himself into St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Houston for “intense anxiety” and “general disorientation.”
The biology student with no history of violence would be shot in the chest by an off-duty cop working hospital security the following day, just minutes after he had been cleared for release.
The department claims that Officers O. Ortega and R. Law, who were both moonlighting at the hospital, were called by nurses to come help subdue a combative patient. Upon their arrival, Pean would continue to refuse to comply.
“The patient suddenly physically assaulted Officer Ortega, striking him in the head, causing a laceration,” the Houston Police Department wrote in a statement. “At that time, Officer Law deployed his conducted energy device, which had no apparent effect on the suspect who continued to assault the officers. Officer Ortega, fearing for his and his partner’s safety, then discharged his duty weapon, striking the suspect one time.”
The bullet luckily missed Pean’s vital organs, and he was moved to the emergency room for treatment.
The medical community is outraged over the incident as well as the subsequent handling of it by the authorities, describing it as a total failure to the patient.
They even started a petition titled, “Collective Statement from Healthcare Professionals,” which currently has over 3,000 signatures.
In the lengthy open letter included with the petition, doctors state that as medical professionals they cannot remain silent on the failures and injustice during Pean’s care.
“Professionally, we have been trained in truth seeking and healing,” the letter reads. “As doctors and medical students, as nurses and care partners, we are trained in how to safely restrain and tranquilize patients, no matter how aggressive, or irritable, or anxious, or threatening they may be. Never is it appropriate or warranted for a patient to be tased, never is it appropriate for a patient to be struck, never, never, never is it appropriate for a patient seeking care, to have their life threatened in our arms.”
In a post to Facebook, Pean vowed to fight to ensure that people seeking medical attention will be kept safe in the future.
“So I will fight until I know every person seeking medical help will have his or her right to pursue a better life protected. Keep guns out of places of healing. Help stop this madness, and let’s make our society a better place. Where love and understanding falters, confusion and hate breeds.”