Relatives of Dr Astrid Denis Desrosiers said that she is in stable condition at MGH and is recovering from her wounds after being stabbed by her patient Oct. 27 at a psychiatric center near the Massachusetts General Hospital. The patient was shot dead by an off-duty security guard, police said as they described a chaotic scene.
They are happy that Dr Desrosiers has been able to talk to them although in a low and week voice as she had undergone surgery in a vocal cord.
“Things are improving; she is currently talking to the doctors,” her husband Claude Desrosiers said in a telephone interview.
Claude and Astride have been married for 22 years.
Dr. Desrosiers, a 49-year-old instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who was stabbed in the neck, the right and left arm, is the mother of grown children, and a celebrated doctor in the city’s Haitian community.
The family had two college-aged children, a boy and a girl.
“The best thing is she was able to speak yesterday evening to my mother who is in Palm Beach Fl,” her brother Robert Denis in Queens, New York said.
“Even the voice is not the same we are very hopeful the voice with come back.”
Police identified the assailant as Jay Carciero, 37, of Reading. Relatives described him as a father of four apparently suffering from bipolar disorder.
The violence occurred just after 2 p.m. last Tuesday on the fifth floor at 50 Staniford St., an office building where the hospital leases space for its Bipolar Clinic and Research Program. The building is a few blocks from the main hospital building on Fruit Street.
Police and witnesses described a crime scene crowded with medical personnel and patients that stretched from an interior office to a hallway.
“There was blood on the rug,’’ said David Schoenfeld, a biostatistician who was working in an adjacent office on the fifth floor when the treatment session turned violent.
After at least one gunshot echoed on the fifth floor, two nurses from Schoenfeld’s office went to treat Carciero, who had been shot in the head by the off-duty security guard, Schoenfeld said.
‘The man was tall, heavy-set, white, and looked about 35 to 40 years old. He was dressed casually, in jeans.”
The actions of the unidentified security guard were hailed as “heroic’’ by Bonnie Michelman, head of security for Mass. General, even as Boston police questioned the guard at headquarters.
At a press conference, officials recounted that a male psychiatric patient attacked his female physician during a treatment session, stabbing her with a knife.
“During the course of the stabbing incident, an off-duty security officer who was armed interceded,” Davis said. “He produced a weapon and ordered the suspect to drop the knife. When the suspect did not comply, he shot the suspect.”
“You didn’t know what was going on, but you knew something happened,” he said.
Dr. Desrosiers is a graduate of the State University of Haiti, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, and also holds a master’s degree from Harvard’s School of Public Health, according to a biography posted on the website of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program. She has been a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General since 2005 and is an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
Her major interests include psychopharmacology, the role of psychosocial factors in the treatment of mood disorders, and health disparities and the impact of multicultural issues on patient care, the website said.
Throughout the evening, word started to trickle into the affluent Belmont neighborhood where she lives in a comfortable, spacious home on a tree-lined street. One neighbor left flowers at the scene. Another neighbor, Pat Coppola, called the Desrosiers family “wonderful people”.
“She is a wonderful lady, a good neighbor,” he said. Coppola, who is elderly, noted that in winters Desrosiers’ husband would offer to shovel his driveway and in summers he would cut his grass.
Attorney James Perullo, standing in the driveway at the modest Carciero home at the end of a cul-de-sac in a quiet Reading neighborhood, said he was the family spokesman and the family would have no comment tonight. Several people stood in the driveway behind the lawyer; one angrily told a reporter to leave. Police asked reporters to step back several dozen yards.
This was the second attack in less than a week inside a Massachusetts General Hospital facility. On Thursday afternoon, a 40-year-old homeless man allegedly assaulted a 27-year-old female employee inside a restroom at the main hospital building on Fruit Street. The suspect, David Flavell, a repeat sex offender, was ordered today to undergo a 20-day mental competency evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital.
In 2003, a woman who worked with a prominent cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital fatally shot the doctor and then killed herself in his office near the hospital’s main lobby, police said at the time. Authorities were never unable to determine a motive. Hospital officials said there were no complaints about the woman’s work performance or behavior and no indication that the woman and the doctor had anything other than a professional relationship.