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Carson City, Nevada

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Paraskevidekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the 13th


October Friday the 13th, 1989, will always be etched in my memory. It was the day I was taken hostage in prison by Kenneth Meller, an inmate who had been on death row. I had only been a prison physician for a year and a half and in the ten hour ordeal I was assaulted, raped, concussion grenaded, saw someone shot to death and rescued by a SWAT team. Some might consider it an unlucky day, but one could also consider it a lucky day because I survived.


All of us in our lives at sometime can be a victim, but we always have the opportunity to decide how we interpret what happened to us. I decided to learn from it and not let it affect how I looked at other inmates who were my patients and my responsibility. That decision allowed me to have a fulfilling career as a prison physician for 30 years. I encourage all of you to look at every crisis as an opportunity.

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