When you think of doctors, white coats and stethoscopes are usually the things that spring to mind. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get an appointment sometime in the next week or three, and if you’re really lucky you could even get a smile.
However, in some situations, the very last thing you want from your doctor is a smile. And sometimes, you may even need such a medical professional to save your life in a totally different and unexpected way…
When people become doctors they take an oath called the ‘Hippocratic Oath.’ This obliges them to swear by a number of medical ethical standards, while adhering to a strict set of rules when it comes to saving human lives. This oath is one of the first things medical students learn, before they get anywhere near their first patient.
It was an otherwise totally normal and uneventful day for Peter, as he headed over to medical school nice and early in the morning, looking forward to another busy day learning to become a family doctor. Peter usually got to school around 6am, but on this day he was already on the road by 4am as he had some assignments to complete…
As Peter drove alone in the early hours, with hardly any cars or people on the road, he noticed something strange out the corner of his eye. As he double checked in his rear view mirror he wasn’t sure that he had actually seen what he thought he had seen.
Peter slowed down, aware that there was hardly anyone around at all. He doubled back, and opened his car window. When he heard blood curdling screams coming from somewhere nearby, as his adrenalin started to pump, Peter sped up to what appeared to be a struggle between a man and a woman…
As Peter drew closer to the pair, he noticed that the woman was being dragged, literally by her hair, buy a man much bigger than her, and dressed in black. Peter was more used to the idea of saving people in his capacity as a trainee doctor’s. Hand-to-hand combat was not this Peter’s forte.
“This Isn’t Right”
As Peter Gold, or Dr. Gold as he would soon be called, stopped his car, he said to himself, ‘This isn’t right,” telling reporters, “The next thing I knew I was out of the car and yelling at the guy, ‘Leave this girl alone! Get away from her!’ ” he recalls. It was at that point that the man turned on poor Peter!
The man attacking the woman, who was later identified as Euric Cain, demanded money from Peter. As he explained, “I didn’t have any cash on me, so I offered him my cell phone, saying, Take whatever you want. Just leave this girl alone and get out of here.” But it was at this point that Peter’s life was in danger.
The man, who was clearly very agitated and upset, looked angrily at the doctor. As Peter explained, “Then he took a gun out and at point-blank range said, ‘F— you. I’m just going to kill you.” But was it an empty threat just to scare Peter, or with this guy for real?
This man wasn’t kidding, and instead of just running, he shot Peter in the stomach. “I was on the ground kinda gasping for air,” Peter said, “I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me and it was never going to go away.” Peter explained that the cowardly thief shot him while his back was turned, “My back was to him,” he said. “He tried to shoot me in the head a couple of times but luckily his gun jammed…I was trying to reach over for my phone.”
Peter, in his capacity as a doctor, knew that he was in serious trouble, and that his very life was at risk here. He grabbed for his cellphone wanting to call his parents to tell them what had happened, “I’d been on the phone with my parents,” Peter said, “I wanted to tell them where I was, what had happened. At that point I was in survival mode trying to get myself help. I didn’t know he was trying to execute me.”
By now, there was a serious commotion in the otherwise tranquil New Orleans street, not to mention gunshots. The commotion caused people who were in the area and awake at that time to go to the scene to see what was going on. In the injured doctor’s words, “They kept me calm and waited for the ambulance to come,” he said, “It came right away. When I woke up two days later, I was in the hospital. My entire group of family and friends was there.”
Caught On Camera
What the shooter didn’t know was that the whole incident was caught on a surveillance camera in the area. Even though Cain fled on foot, DNA found at the scene matched his, and that fact was enlightening for the police working the case, as Cain has a checkered history…
Cain was linked from his DNA to a kidnapping and rape of a couple of tourists who were visiting New Orleans on vacation. As a result of trying to kill Peter, and for the rapes he committed, Cain was sentenced to 54 years in prison. In court, Peter was asked to give an impact statement; Something he was in two minds about.
Peter was lucky to be alive, and when he woke up in the hospital surrounded by friends and family, he knew that to be true. Peter needed to spend a nearly two weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries. But Peter wanted to deal with what he went through, and to face up as best he could to the challenge of just getting back to his normal routine…
Making A Statement
Peter spoke about facing his would-be killer in court, “It was very important for me mentally to face him,” He said, “This guy tried to kill me and I got to stand up and look him in the eye. I told him, ‘I hope if you ever get out of jail you try to do something good with your life… Did he listen? I don’t know. It’s just a true passion for me to try and spend that message now — even for someone like him.”
As a result of what happened to him, Peter, who has been hailed a hero for potentially saving the woman’s life, has founded an organization called Strong City, a nonprofit set up to assist children at risk in the local area. “I really want to dedicate a large portion of my life to really focusing on youth in our country, and kids who are falling between the cracks and have missed opportunities [and are growing up] in an environment of violence,” Peter said.
Peter spoke about how thankful he is to be alive. He, like so many other people facing near-death experiences, spoke about how he now appreciates all the little things in life that he previously overlooked, “On a micro level, I’m really just thankful to be alive and I appreciate the smaller things in life,” he said. “On a macro level, I’ve been trying to make sense out of what happened in someone’s life that they ended up being able to commit such a violent act with such ease.”
Even though Peter has no idea who the woman was that he saved, and took a bullet for, he did receive a heartfelt handwritten letter from her recently. In that letter she thanked this hero profusely for saving her life, “It was really nice and special to get a letter from them,” Peter said.
Do It Again?
The story of Peter just gets better, as he said that he had no regrets at all about what he did, and would do it again in a heartbeat, “I saw this thing happening and the next thing I knew I was out of the car,” Peter said, adding. “I hope and feel that my instincts would jump in and I’d do the same thing again.”
Hope For The Future
Peter’s new foundation has given not only him, but so many others hope for the future. Cain’s defense attorney, Mr Woods, said he was thrilled about the good things that could come out from this tragic case, especially because of the new Foundation, “I agree with Mr. Gold’s foundation,” Woods said, “I think it’s fantastic. My client did have a troubled past and not the greatest upbringing and I think a foundation like this could possibly prevent other youths from having an outcome similar to this. Mr. Gold is definitely a strong individual — especially after an incident like this — to come out and speak out and start a foundation.”