A life-changing moment

Gunshot victim becomes a DO: A tale of perseverance and forgiveness

A victim of gun violence, Kevin Morton Jr., DO, realizes his dream of becoming a surgeon.

Nearly 10 years ago, Kevin Morton Jr., DO, was a victim of gun violence and nearly died. Around midnight, he ended his shift as a restaurant manager and was getting into his car when someone approached and shot him. He tried to drive to a nearby police station, never making it. Later, he learned that an off-duty EMT came to his aid and helped get him to the hospital. That experience changed his life and led him to become a DO.

Discovering DOs

During his extensive recovery, Dr. Morton began thinking about entering the medical field, planning to become a physician’s assistant. However, a chance encounter with Jason Dilly, MD—who was familiar with osteopathic medicine—steered him toward the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) Macomb University Center in Clinton Township.

Dr. Morton and his family on MSUCOM's graduation day.

Fast-forward to present day and Dr. Morton, a 2016 graduate of MSUCOM, laughs at the memory of not knowing about the osteopathic medical profession and asking, “DO, what’s that?”

He recalls Dr. Dilly telling him that his personality and demeanor would make him a great DO, and that MSUCOM would be an ideal place for him.

“After I applied, started my education and got to know the faculty and classmates at the Macomb campus, I found that Dr. Dilly was absolutely right,” says Dr. Morton. “It was a perfect fit.”

Moving on

While recovering from his injuries, Dr. Morton realized that in order to move forward with his life, he needed to forgive the gunman.

“When you hold on to something like that, you’re not hurting that person. You’re hurting yourself, and I couldn’t afford to sit back and feel sorry for myself,” he explains.

He expresses sincere gratitude to MSUCOM for giving him the chance to become a DO and taking a chance on a nontraditional student.

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“MSUCOM didn’t just consider my MCAT score and grades, but also took into account my community service,” Dr. Morton says. “They really looked at the overall person, just as DOs do with their patients.”

Where to next?

Having undergone surgery five times to repair damage to his stomach, pancreas and diaphragm, Dr. Morton is interested in helping others the way he’s been helped, so he’ll specialize in general surgery. He’ll begin his five-year residency at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, at both the Madison Heights campus and Warren campus, in Michigan, on July 1.

Until then, he plans to spend time with his wife and daughter, cross off tasks on his “honey-do” list, take a vacation and shadow a mentor, DeLorean Griffin, MD, in the operating room.


  1. Wm Faltermayer Jr

    Thanks for publishing this story. Kevin and his family worked hard and deserves recognition for his accomplishments.

  2. Steve Purvis, DO

    I love it when bad things are turned to good, it is a profession that needs good people and this young family seems to be that. Congrats work hard on your training and your family!

  3. Pamela R. Owens

    I have known Dr. Morton going back to his early years. He always had a smile of a Christmas tree that would light up any room, and would gladly share his aspirations and dreams. He is living proof that dreams really does come true–if you just BELIEVE!!! Many blessings to him and his family!

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