Patient calls doctor killed in plane crash ‘irreplaceable’

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth man killed in a plane crash this week has left a large void in the community. Michael Buxton was a clinical psychologist who made a difference in hundreds of lives.

Dr. Buxton was piloting a small plane when it crashed at Norfolk Botanical Garden early Wednesday morning. It happened just a few hundred yards from the runway at Norfolk International Airport. Two of his close friends also died.

Several patients and parents of young patients posted on 10 On Your Side’s Facebook page, expressing the void Dr. Buxton’s death would leave in their lives. So, sat down with one of those patients on Friday to learn more about the man so many will miss.

Matt Brinson said that out of all the treatment he’s received over the last 10 years, Buxton was the only doctor who really had an impact. Brinson said Buston was irreplaceable.

“He was the first one that I was able to open up to and feel comfortable with without feeling judged,” Brinson explained of his therapy with Dr. Buxton.

For the last 10 years of his life, he’s struggled with PTSD and clinical depression. Brinson said it all started when he was placed in foster care at the age of nine.

“Depression and anxiety, it’s a very hard thing to live with every day,” Brinson elaborated. That is why he sought help, and time after time, he couldn’t find a doctor he trusted. Trust, he said, is an essential element in mental health care. About a year ago, he found Dr. Buxton.

“Dr. Buxton was the first doctor that I met who took the time to listen to me, understand where I was coming from,” Brinson said.

And Buxton was always just a phone call away.

Brinson saw the doctor last Tuesday, his next appointment would have been Friday morning. That made Friday much more difficult for him to get through.

“Its a void that I don’t know how I’m going to be able to fill that now,” he said.

Buxton’s office is now painful for some patients to see.

“I went over by the office just to go see it one more time, and it was a locked door and they had the note on the door, due to unforeseen circumstances,” Brinson said.

The note said that the office is closed until further notice. Brinson said the small staff felt familiar and comfortable. Going to see someone else, he said, just may not be an option.

10 On Your Side asked Brinson how difficult it would be for him to go out and find another provider. “I don’t know that I can at this point in time, I don’t know that I can,” he replied.

Many patients of Dr. Buxton were children, and saw a lot of parents on Facebook mention they struggled to find the best way to tell their children about Buxton’s death. tried calling Buston’s office on Friday, but got no answer. It’s not yet known if another doctor will take over Buxton’s practice.

But, as Brinson explained, this kind of treatment is much more difficult to find than an eye doctor or an internist. For Buxton’s type of care, patients have to feel comfortable in order for the therapy to work.

A funeral service is planned for Buxton on Sunday.

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