Todd Graham, a doctor from Indiana, was shot dead after he refused to prescribe opioids for the gunman’s wife. The killer, in despair, decided to kill himself shortly after.
According to St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter, Michael Jarvis got upset because Dr. Graham didn’t want to prescribe an opioid medication for the chronic pain that his wife suffered. Graham refused because he thought it wasn’t necessary and he believed he wanted the prescription because he was a drug addict.
“Make no mistake, this was a person who made a choice to kill Dr. Graham. This is not a fallout from any opioid epidemic or any opioid problems. That probably leads us into an examination of what is happening with the opioid problem in our community, and frankly, in our whole nation,” said Cotter.
Dr. Graham lost his life because he did the right thing
According to the investigation, the killer and his wife went to Graham’s office at South Bend medical center for an appointment Wednesday morning. They discussed her not needing opioids to treat her pain, so the couple left the office. However, 48-year-old Jarvis went in with a gun about two hours later. He confronted Dr. Todd Graham in the parking lot of the medical center, and after arguing for a few minutes, Jarvis shot Graham twice in his head. On that moment, Dr. Graham stated to the St. Joseph Rehabilitation Institute, which was a few miles from his office.
In the parking lot, there were two witnesses. Jarvis saw them and told them to leave the place. They said they saw Jarvis had a gun.
Michael Jarvis decided to run away, and he went to a friend’s house. He said to his friend not to tell that he was around. His friend, who thought it was suspicious decided to call 911, but it was too late. Minutes later, Jarvis decided to commit suicide by shooting himself too. The police arrived when he was already dead.
“It was Dr. Graham’s opinion that chronic pain did not require prescription drugs,” St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said at a news conference Thursday. “He did what we ask our doctors to do. Don’t over-prescribe opioids.”
It is still unknown what they said to each other in the parking lot; however, the authorities found out very soon that the events took place over the drug prescription denial. The authorities believe that Jarvis’ wife was not aware of the actions her husband would carry out. They say that she is suffering because of this tragedy. Cotter said that they didn’t know if both Jarvis and his wife were addicted to opioids or if Jarvis just wanted the drugs for himself.
This is the third recent shooting that involves a patient and a doctor
According to the authorities, Graham and Jarvis’ case is the third fatal shooting case that involves a doctor and a patient in the last months. In June, a man shot two people at a Las Vegas pain clinic and then decided to kill himself. Apparently, the shooter had a chronic back pain, and the doctor denied to prescribe him medication during an unscheduled appointment. The other case occurred in Great Falls, Montana, when a patient burned down a doctor’s house, pointed the doctor’s wife with a gun, and then shot himself.
According to the Commander Tim Corbett of Saint Joseph County Metro Homicide, the Indiana unfortunate shooting could have ended up in a mass shooting.
“This was a very targeted attack,” said Commander Corbett. “I am a firm believer — and I think Ken feels the same way — that if Jarvis would have got inside that building, although there wouldn’t have been any specific target, it’s like trapping an animal in a corner: they’re going to come out fighting. I truly believe this could have escalated into a mass shooting. I do believe that.”
Dr. Graham was a very caring person
Todd Graham was a 56-year-old doctor. He had three children. His wife knew about his husband’s death because of the social media. Several of his relatives and patients send messages for him, saying that he was a very attentive and caring doctor. Graham was also a consulting physician at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend
“Dr. Graham has been my Dr. for 3 years. After 3 accidents, and surgeries he has helped me tremendously. My condolences to his wife. He will be missed,” wrote one of his patients.
According to the authorities, Michael Jarvis might have had other issues besides an opioid addiction. Cotter said there are another factors they still don’t know. Since Jarvis was not Graham’s patients, they still don’t know the medical records of the killer to determine what drugs, if any, he and his wife had been prescribed previously. They don’t know what kind of opioid they were asking Graham to prescribe.
Source: The Washington Post