By Mylika Scatliffe,
Afro Women’s Health Writer
Dr. David Eflon has seen it all.
While millions of people across the country are discussing gun law, gunfire prevention, and public security, doctors like Eflon are called in every day to stop bleeding in gun culture-obsessed countries.
Former trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, current head of trauma, R. As the medical director of the Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, he can directly explain the implications of saving lives or losing lives in gun violence.
Having been traumatized on various campuses of The Johns Hopkins Hospital for over 20 years, Eflon is familiar with gunshot wounds and their widespread impact on victims and their families.
“We rarely know how they end up here, and that’s not the place we ask. We’re working hard to save them,” says Eflon. I did.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 45,222 gun-related deaths in the United States in 2020, which means that about 124 people died from gunshot wounds per day. The CDC also noted the following:
- Men account for 86% of all violent gun deaths and 87% of non-fatal gun injuries.
- Gun murder is highest among teens and young adults aged 15-34.
- Gun-related deaths are also highest among blacks, Native Americans or Alaska Natives, and Hispanic or Latinopopulations.
There were already 232 mass shootings in the United States before four people were shot dead at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1. According to The Gun Violence Archive, 19 children have died.
Although not a criminal expert, Eflon reported that most of the murders and non-fatal shootings encountered in Baltimore were wounds made from pistols rather than assault rifles. However, mass shootings have occurred one after another in the last three weeks, with victims scattered throughout the country in churches, supermarkets, primary schools and hospitals, and conversations about assault weapons are reigniting.
“We haven’t seen the victims of shootings injured by assault weapons as many as pistols, but we have seen some,” Eflon said.
The Shock Trauma Elite Medical Team boasts an overall 97% success rate in saving the lives of people passing through Trauma Bay. ”
Both can be killed absolutely, but attacking weapons and pistols are particularly different in the types of wounds they cause.
“When the ammunition leaves the barrel of the assault weapon, there is a much faster velocity behind it, which probably means more damage to the body, such as shredded tissue or shredded bone. “Eflon said. “Pistol bullets are conical and often smaller than assault weapon bullets, making them more likely to make clean holes.”
Victim time in shock trauma does not necessarily end with treatment at Trauma Bay followed by discharge. Patients can remain in shock trauma for hours, weeks, or months.
Eflon and his staff know that prevention of violence is paramount to preventing victims from recidivism and may not have a large time frame to encourage victims to change their risky behaviour. Hmm. Their audience is most captured while recovering in the hospital.
According to Eflon, more than 90% of gunshot victims of shock trauma are young black men with a median of 20-30 years.
“I was a little surprised. The median age is a little higher than I expected,” Eflon said. “It’s all tragic, but you note the young teenage victims of gun violence.”
The shock trauma team is overwhelmingly successful in saving lives, but as mentioned above, the success rate is not 100 percent. ,
According to Eflon, the worst part of their job is to notify family members and loved ones when they can’t save their patients.
“We process notifications with compassion, but we are direct,” Eflon said. “Families are waiting to hear about their loved ones and don’t want to hear how we shed blood, sweat and tears.”
“It’s an emotional situation not only for the victim’s family, but also for the staff. We’re not used to it, but we need to be a little numb because we have another patient within 15 minutes.”
A pile of discharge documents and instructions awaits for the surviving victims. Young people who are always strong and healthy and may not have much health literacy need to navigate complex health and legal systems while recovering from an injury.
For those who survive, life may begin anew with a wheelchair, artificial anal bag, or traumatic brain injury. Support is key to surviving difficult times.
The University of Maryland Baltimore (ROAR) Reconstruction, Overcome, and Ascension Center is an organization that provides wraparound services such as legal and health support to residents of the city of Baltimore.
According to the UMB ROAR web page, “Crime often affects the mental and physical health of survivors, and overall.”
ROAR Executive Director Lydia Watts spoke with AFRO about the support her team is providing to victims of violence and their families.
“The phenomenon of gun violence is deeply rooted in racism and poverty, and minimizing black families and dehumanizing is a real problem,” Watts said.
According to Watt, trauma and pain are often unrecognized by black families, which means that black families may not seek help when needed.
Victims may need assistance in navigating the healthcare system after being shot, or may need assistance in combating prejudice from healthcare providers.
“Our clients may come to us three, six or nine months after being shot and discharged from the hospital. They have not returned to the doctor or received discharge instructions. May not be catching up and the prescription for the service may have expired. “
“ROAR will be able to take advantage of mental health care, physical examinations, and follow-up appointment rides to help clients complete paperwork,” Watts said.
She pointed out the surprising difference between the reaction to mass shootings and the reaction to the gun epidemic that plagues the black community.
“The whole country mourns the victims of the people such as Yuvalde and Buffalo, but no one is raining money for young victims and their families at the local level,” Watts said. I did.
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