Trauma surgeons described the horrors of mass shootings in and around Ubal

Dr. Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician in Yuvalde, Texas, told lawmakers Wednesday about the horrors of seeing the bodies of two of the 19 children killed in the Rob Elementary genocide while testifying before a U.S. House committee on gun violence. He said they were so distorted that they could be identified by looking at their clothes.

In recent years, the medical profession has developed strategies to help save more gun victims, such as removing patients quickly. But trauma surgeons interviewed by KHN say that even these improvements could save a fraction of patients when military-style rifles hit. Enduring empty wounds, many victims died at the shooting scene and never went to the hospital, they say. According to surgeons, those who arrive at the trauma center seem to have more injuries than in the past.

However, doctors added, the weapons used are not new. Instead, they said, the problem is that these particularly deadly guns exist more and more, and these weapons are being used more frequently in mass shootings and daily violence that plague communities across the country.

Doctors frustrated by the killings are calling for massive action to stop the escalation of gun violence.

A few weeks after the shooting at the school, it is unclear what steps the country will take to prevent another attack of this magnitude. On Wednesday and Thursday the House passed measures aimed at reducing gun violence, but Senate approval seems at best uncertain.

Many physicians agree that something significant needs to be done. “One solution will not solve this crisis,” said Dr. Ashley Hink Charleston, a South Carolina man who worked as a trauma surgery resident at South Carolina Medical University in 2015 when a white supremacist mother killed nine black members. Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “If anyone wants to hang their hat on a solution, they are obviously not aware enough about this problem.”

Weapons fired in mass shootings – often defined as incidents where at least four people are shot – are not the only military-style rifles, such as the AR-15-style weapon used in Uvalde. Trauma surgeons say they are increasingly using semi-automatic handguns, such as the one used during the shooting at Charleston Church. They can carry more ammunition than revolvers and fire faster.

Overall gun violence has increased in recent years. By 2020, firearms injuries have become the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. Gun-related homicides rose nearly 35% in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May. Most of these deaths were caused by handguns.

Nevertheless, trauma surgeons such as Dr. Rob Todd at Atlanta Grady Memorial Hospital have blamed high-level deadly gun violence for the military-style rifle and the end of the 2004 National Assault Weapons embargo.

A recent survey published by the clothing network Open found that about six people were injured in each mass shooting death. Trauma surgeons interviewed by KHN report that the number of lesions per patient appears to have increased.

“I think we’ve seen an increase in violence over the last decade,” said Dr. Joseph Saqran, a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He noted how many times a person had been shot and said that more gun victims were being shot at close range.

Survival rates in mass shootings depend on a number of factors, including the type of firearm used, the proximity of the gunman, and the number and location of wounds, according to Dr. Christopher Kang, a Tacoma doctor in Washington who is president-elect of the United States. College of Emergency Physicians.

Several have survived recent shootings.

The Charleston genocide perpetrator shot each of the nine killed more than once. Only one of these people was taken to the hospital, and upon arrival, he had no pulse.

Last year, eight people were killed in a shooting at three Atlanta-area spas – only one bullet survivor survived.

Dr John Armstrong, a professor of surgery at the University of South Florida, said chaos at a mass shooting scene – and the presence of an “active” shooter – could add significant delay to hospitalization of victims. “With the help of high-powered weapons, one can see more injuries, greater tissue destruction, greater bleeding,” he added.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who is CNN’s chief medical correspondent, writes about the power and strength of bullets from an AR-15-style rifle, a type used in recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York. That energy is equivalent to throwing a watermelon into cement, Gupta said, quoting Dr. Ernest Moore, director of surgical research at Denver Health Medical Center.

Over the years, medical advances, including lessons learned from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, have helped save the lives of those shot, said Armstrong, who trained the U.S. Army surgical team.

These strategies, he said, include proper use of tourniquets, quick removal of the injured and use of “whole blood” to treat patients who need large amounts of all blood components, such as those who have lost significant amounts of blood. Blood. It is used instead of blood which is divided into plasma, platelets and red blood cells.

Another effective strategy is to train pedestrians to help the victims. A protocol called “Stop the Bleed” teaches people how to apply pressure to wounds, pack wounds and apply tourniquets to control bleeding. Stop the bloodshed after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 20 children and six adults.

The CDC, which has been able to conduct gun research since the congressional ban in the past two years, has funded more than a dozen projects to address the problem of gun violence from a public health perspective. These projects include the study of firearm injuries and the collection of data from emergency rooms across the country.

For some doctors, gun violence has provoked political action. Dr. Annie Andrews, a pediatrician at the Medical University of South Carolina, is running as a Democrat for a seat in the U.S. House on a platform to prevent gun violence. After the shooting at Uvalade School, Andrews said many women around him came forward to ask, “What can be done about it? I’m worried about my kids.”

Dr. Ronald Stewart, chair of surgery at San Antonio-based University Health, told KHN that the people who were shot in the abdomen suffered from “high-strength, high-velocity” rounds. Four of them – including three children – were taken to the university hospital, where they were given high-level trauma care.

Hospital and Stuart had seen such killings before. In 2017, San Antonio Hospital treated victims of Sutherland Springs church shootings that killed more than two dozen people.

Elizabeth Allen, the university’s health spokeswoman, said two of the four victims had been released and two others were in hospital until Thursday.

It would be a bipartisan effort to make meaningful changes to what Stuart, a gun owner, called a “significant pandemic” that would not threaten Second Amendment rights. Stuart noted that the public safety system has controlled unintentional injuries in car accidents. For intentional violence, he said, no progress has been made.

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