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An open letter to Dr. Palmer from a ‘patient’

The media has been giving a lot of attention to Dr. Walter Palmer and his infamous activities that resulted in the death of Cecil the Lion. Dr. Palmer has now returned to his dental practice. I’m not a patient of his, but I thought about what I would say to him if he were my dentist.

Cecil the LionDear Dr. Palmer:
Welcome back! I know it’s been a rough six weeks, with death threats and media coverage that you never wanted or expected. Isn’t it amazing how life can change in a split second? It’s frightening when you really think about it. I bet you didn’t expect millions of people to know your name when you went off to your hunting trip in Zimbabwe. To be honest, I think that the public, celebrities, and politicians have been very unfair to you. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a huge animal lover, and I love my leather shoes and fur coats. But, death threats?! People really can be crazy. And let’s face it. How many people had even heard of Cecil the Lion until this happened?

My question is; why did you want to shoot an animal? Look, I’m not trying to pass any moral judgment or anything, but I just don’t get it. Where is the sport in killing such a beautiful animal? I may be old school because I don’t like guns. They kill. But in this country you have the right to own guns. You have the right to go across the world, spend a fortune, and experience the “thrill” of the hunt. It was the responsibility of your guides in a foreign country to know where you could shoot. How could you have known? And look at the mess that was left behind.

But, all of that is none of my business. You are my dentist. Someone I trust for your dental skills. Should I not trust a professional because he or she doesn’t have kids or has gone through a divorce? What if you’d been on a bicycle and been hit by a car while riding in the street? Am I allowed to judge you for your personal decisions when you’re my dentist? You aren’t my friend. You aren’t my family member. You are the expert I’ve turned to to help me to take care of my mouth. But let’s be honest. This really does have an impact on me. I guess what it boils down to is the decision you made to go on the hunt in the first place. It doesn’t have anything to do with our professional relationship. But, it has something to do with the person you are. Do I want my dentist to have a hobby where he goes off and kills something?

I just wish that we could go back a couple months and you didn’t make this life-altering decision. I’m not afraid of the paparazzi that are outside your office as I write this. It boils down to, can I trust you as a dentist? Honestly, I don’t think I can. I don’t mean to kick you when you’re down. But, your activity outside the office does have an impact on me. You’re put on a pedestal whether you want that or not. Now, you’ve fallen off the pedestal and I don’t know how you can get back up there. I can’t seem to forget that you enjoy the hunt.

For this reason, I need to end my relationship as your patient. I wish you the best and hope that things get back to normal for you as quickly as possible. You’re a good dentist. You just need to take a closer look at your hobbies.

Wishing you and your family peace and safety at this crazy time.

Sincerely, Diana Directive

I write this on behalf of Dr. Palmer’s patients who just can’t bring themselves to come back to his office. There will be some who return. There are those who may even get a thrill passing by the paparazzi outside. But me; I’ll choose to get my thrills somewhere else.