NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Staff at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center pediatric residency program are mourning the loss of a former resident and pediatrician who was killed in a hostage situation in Austin, Texas Tuesday.
Lindley Dodson, 43, was a pediatrician, wife, and mother of three young children.
“You don’t go into pediatrics without loving kids,” Dr. Rebecca Swan, Director of the Pediatric Residency Program at VUMC said, “But she had this laugh and this Louisiana accent, and you just remember her.”
Swan took over as the director of the program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital about 20 years ago, just before Dodson, then Lindley Spaht, arrived.
“I can hear her laugh now,” Swan told News 2, “These residents become family members to me I really do feel like they’re almost my children and then they become my friends and colleagues after they leave. And as awful as this has been in the past day and a half we have shared between text and social medias and emails and phone calls, some fun memories. I mean, lots of tears but fun pictures.”
Swan showed News 2 a picture from 2004 of Dodson laughing.
“Another reflection that people have said is what a great job she did as a supervising resident how she made that whole night easier because she made it fun so even when you’re tired and you’re, you know you’re tired you’re frustrated because you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing she just knew how to bring out the best in people,” Swan explained. “I mean that’s just the spirit that she had… and I think that’s what you see reflected in what like parents in Austin are saying about how she just helped them be the best that they could be and I think that’s the, you know, that’s what her legacy is going to be.”
Even in this unexplainable tragedy, Dodson is still encouraging others to smile.
“We were telling each other yesterday that we should smile a little more just even though we all have masks on when we’re out working right now, but just as a way of just paying tribute to her so I think her attitude is her legacy,” Swan said. “And that’s what you want her family to know, is that her legacy is just so rich.”
Background information from KXAN:
Before coming to work in Austin, Dodson was a Harvard Medical School instructor and was an urgent care doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston following her residency in Nashville. For 10 years, she worked at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin and was named the hospital’s top pediatric doctor in 2012 and 2017.
She was named a “Rising Star” by the Texas Super Doctors for three consecutive years, 2017-2019.
She joined Children’s Medical Group’s office in 2017, according to its website. Her LinkedIn profile said she was also a partner at CMG.
The Austin Police Department reported the shooter, identified as Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, entered the Children’s Medical Group building with a gun and held five adult employees hostage — who he then commanded to tie themselves up.
While a few of the hostages were reportedly allowed to leave by Narumanchi, the victim, who APD has identified as Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, 43, was not.
While Narumanchi, who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, didn’t work at Children’s Medical Group, police say he’d been at the office just last week to apply for a volunteer position. Narumanchi, also a pediatrician, was reportedly rejected for the role. It’s not believed Dodson and Narumanchi had any prior relationship.