In memory of Colin Dorrian

Published in the Delaware County Daily Times

Posted on Fri, Jul 6, 2007

Haverford man found dead at old hospital site

By Lois Puglionesi, Times Correspondent

HAVERFORD — The search for 28-year-old Colin Dorrian ended tragically Wednesday, when police found his body at the former Haverford State Hospital site around 8 p.m.

The Delaware County Medical Examiner determined Dorian shot himself in the chest on hospital site grounds at an undetermined date and time.

Dorrian, 28, went missing June 25. His family feared the worst after learning he used his credit card to purchase a gun the day he disappeared.

Friends searching the area Wednesday spotted Dorrian’s red Ford Ranger pickup truck parked at the Quadrangle and suspected he jumped a fence, returning to an old haunt they frequented as teens. Haverford Township Police located Dorrian’s body in tall grass at Haverford State, using a cadaver dog, Lt. Mark Harnish said.

The Dorrians lived in Havertown 23 years before relocating to Avondale in 2004.

Dorrian graduated from Haverford High School, studied engineering at Cooper Union, and completed law school at the University of Michigan. He practiced patent law for two years in Los Angeles, but became dissatisfied and decided to embark on a medical career. Dorrian recently completed pre-med course work at Drexel University and achieved high scores on his Medical College Admissions Test. Friends said he was in the process of applying to medical schools.

Dorian’s father, Gerry Dorian, believes his son was driven to suicide by complications from LASIK eye surgery he underwent in 2001. Doctors told Dorrian he was not a good candidate, but he went through with the procedure anyway.

While many patients achieve satisfactory outcomes, Dorrian began experiencing debilitating visual aberrations following surgery, such as glare, double-vision or ghosting, blurred vision, halos, and impaired night and low-light vision.

Gerry Dorian said his son consulted many specialists and closely followed developments in the technology, hoping for a breakthrough that could reverse the damage. Colin took his own life after concluding “that wasn’t going to happen,” Gerry Dorrian said.

Colin left a message on his computer indicating he would kill himself if he couldn’t get his vision corrected, Gerry Dorrian said.

“There wasn’t anything else going on in Colin’s life that would have driven him to this,” Gerry Dorrian said. “For some people, the outcome of LASIK can be impossible to deal with.”

“Colin was a very giving person,” said Greg Benson, a Havertown resident and friend of the family who knew Dorrian since childhood. Dorrian was helping Benson’s son prepare for his SATs.

One of Colin’s roommates, Peter Litt, described Dorrian as smart, capable, and willing to take on challenges. Litt noted that Dorrian seemed tired and stressed when he last saw him.

“Colin was bright, dynamic, and charming,” said Gerry Dorrian. “He was the kind of person who could walk into a room and change the room.”