Dentist stabbed at La. practice has surgery, faces long recovery

Dr. Katie Tran. Image courtesy of the Louisiana Dental Center.
Dr. Katie Tran. Image courtesy of the Louisiana Dental Center.

A dentist who may have lost an eye after being stabbed multiple times by a patient while working at a practice in New Orleans on February 7 has been identified and isn’t expected to treat patients any time soon.

Dr. Katherine "Katie" Tran, a 2021 Louisiana State University School (LSU) of Dentistry graduate, has undergone hand surgery and is recovering from other injuries after being attacked while working at the Louisiana Dental Center in New Orleans.

Sharon Stewart.Sharon Stewart.

A patient, Sharon Sharon Stewart, 55, has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault for reportedly stabbing Tran in the left eye and neck for an unknown reason. Stewart is being held in jail without bond.

To assist with her expected physical, mental, and financial challenges, a GoFundMe page was created for Tran. More than $102,000 has been raised, already surpassing its goal of $100,000.

“The funds will also assist in assuring the offender is behind bars as long as possible so something like this will not happen again,” Dr. Mason Liles, a dentist, fellow LSU alumnus, and creator of the GoFundMe, wrote.

In a message posted on the GoFundMe page on February 20, Tran thanked friends, family, colleagues, and other supporters for their donations.

Though she stated that the attack had left her shaken and dealing with physical and emotional wounds, Tran wrote, “(Your donations) have not only helped alleviate the financial strain but have also served as a powerful reminder of the goodness that exists in the world.”

Just before noon on February 7, Stewart visited the dental practice and reportedly asked to talk to Tran. An employee heard a scuffle, looked around, and purportedly saw Stewart brandishing a three-inch knife toward Tran.

An employee reported that Tran yelled that she had been stabbed in the face and she saw blood streaming from the clinician’s eye. Also, Stewart purportedly chased the dentist around the office, waving a knife, and attempted to attack two more employees. One employee tried to step in before Tran managed to lock herself in a room. Stewart ran away and was arrested later that day.

During her time in school, Tran, who was raised in New Orleans, earned the Robert F. Eastman Excellence in Operative Dentistry award and received recognition for outstanding achievement from the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. During dental school, she volunteered for mission trips to Brazil and Guatemala and provided dental services to underserved communities in the Dominican Republic, according to her employer biography.

“As I continue on the path to recovery, I am filled with hope and determination, knowing that I do not walk this journey alone,” Tran wrote. 

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