Doctors speak out against gun violence after Texas school shooting

Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, a pediatric surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, knows what assault rifles can do to a child’s body.

The damage, she says, is often insurmountable.

“It’s not just the hole you see on the outside. It’s a huge blast,” said Naik-Mathuria. “You see completely shredded organs. The ships are completely disorganized. There is no way to save them.

This is why Naik-Mathuria proclaims loud and clear that the problem of gun violence is “very much our way”.

“We have our hands inside these people, these children, trying to save them,” she said. “How can anyone tell us it’s not our problem?”

She is not alone. The hashtag #ThisIsOurLane took off in 2018 following two mass shootings: one at a California bar where 12 people were killed, and another at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people died. He resurfaced after the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers.

The social media campaign started in 2018 after the National Rifle Association – reacting to several gun violence reports published in the journal of the American College of Physicians – tweeted “Someone should tell the anti-gun medics to stay in their lane.”

Enraged by Tuesday’s events, medical professionals relaunched #ThisIsOurLane, insisting that gun violence is an urgent pediatric public health emergency.

“People will tell me to stay out of politics. Just be a doctor, just be a pediatrician,” said Dr. Mark Kline, chief medical officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans, referring to those on social media, as well as other pediatricians. “This is a case of children dying preventable deaths, and this is our path as paediatricians. We have a duty to prevent children from dying unnecessarily.

The Ulvade tragedy is hard enough to grasp, but it’s only a small fraction of the children who are killed by guns in the United States each year. Recent research found that firearms overtook car crashes as the leading cause of death among children and teens in the United States in 2020.

Researchers at the University of Michigan reported in April that more than 4,300 children and teens died from firearms in 2020. The second leading cause of death – traffic accidents – resulted in about 3,900 deaths pediatrics that year. The report, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Leading causes of death among children and adolescents in the United States, from 1999 to 2020.The New England Journal of Medicine

“We have already treated more children with gunshot wounds this year than any other,” said Dr. Chethan Sathya, pediatric trauma surgeon and director of the Center for Gun Violence Prevention at Northwell Health in New York.

Sathya said he and his colleagues had noted a “sharp increase in gun violence compared to previous years”.

“This is of course going to be felt and seen directly by frontline workers in hospitals,” he said.

“We’re not talking about taking the Second Amendment away,” Sathya said. “We talk about improving gun safety and making our communities safer.

Dr. Sue Bornstein, chair of the board of trustees of the American College of Physicians, is a gun owner herself.

“What we promote is safety prevention – things like safe storage, keeping firearms out of reach of children and certainly closing background check loopholes,” she said. declared.

Naik-Mathuria, of Baylor College of Medicine, said she started texting her colleagues in San Antonio, the closest major city to Uvalde, as soon as she heard about the shooting on Tuesday.

Trauma surgeons had prepared there for an influx of children with gunshot wounds. But they never had the chance to try to save them; their injuries from the assault weapon used in the mass shootings were too great.

“They were waiting for these children who never came.”

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