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Thoughts on Survival - 20 Years After Workplace Violence

Peggy Cole is a self-published author who enjoys writing fiction stories, book reviews and articles about simpler times.


Interview with Maria Jordan

June 2019 marks 20 years since Psychiatric Hospital Administrator, Maria Jordan, and a fellow colleague were taken hostage by a former employee. The two women were held at gunpoint for 46-hours during which Maria was shot six times.

In this interview, Maria shares her reflections and positive lessons after surviving the horrific attack that forever changed her life.

HubPages Author, Marcoujor, Maria Jordan


Your Thoughts While Being Held at Gunpoint?

"From start to finish, the incident lasted 46 hours. This translates to 2,760 minutes and I was counting. Today, as I relish an afternoon nap whenever possible, I cannot imagine how I remained awake for this entire time.

"I remained focused during the daylight hours when I worried most about spontaneous action from the perpetrator - triggered usually by the actions of the State Police.

"Both nights, when Carol and the perpetrator were able to sleep, my internal dialogue consisted of anything and everything. Some of my endless thoughts were:

  • Would I survive to ever hug Geoff, Mom and Alvin again?
  • Was my impatient but loving family holding it together?
  • Would Carol, my patients and my staff be okay?

"I didn't speak throughout this time. My mind, however, was going 'a mile a minute,' as Mom would have said. I thought about many strong women in my life, both alive and dead. I imagined their words of empowerment, support and love. This helped me endure as I was not willing to let my "Strength Team" down.

"Lastly, I prayed - almost constantly. As my body weakened, I worked hard to keep my mind and thought processes strong."


No matter how tough one's bravado, we all need to accept our vulnerabilities - being patient, first and foremost, with ourselves when the unimaginable happens."

— Maria Jordan

What Is It Like to be Shot and Not Get Medical Attention for Two Days?

"In game show speak, this stretch of time felt like Double Jeopardy.

"Being shot six times was physically agonizing - the worst, ongoing pain of my life to date. Simultaneously experiencing 46 hours of gross mishandling by the Chief of the PA State Police gave me a range of feelings: anger, frustration, fear, helplessness and others, which would not be polite to detail.

"When rescued by the SWAT Team and the Penn Star paramedics, I felt a surge of hope, gratitude and more relief than I dreamt was possible."

Deliver Me

Who or What Gave You Strength During Your Long Recovery?

"I drew strength from my family and close friends who knew intuitively of my need to initially regroup after coming home from my longest shift ever - from June 16th to July 3rd (when I was discharged from the hospital) to be exact.

"I am 'furrever' indebted to my two beautiful Labrador retrievers who nursed me through my toughest years - Alvin and Aunt Baby. These gentle giants reminded me that vulnerability is necessary in the healing process.

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"The toughest part of my recovery was dealing with my limitations gracefully. This included accepting help from my husband, Mom and my sister, all of whom showed unconditional love, acceptance and patience along my road to recovery."

My Source of Strength

Aunt Baby and Alvin