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Doctors See the Wreckage of Gun Violence Every Day

They've had enough

Outside the operating room, hunched over the scrub sink feeling exhausted, demoralized and with a sense of utter failure, we begin to wash off the blood that has seeped through our surgical gowns. And the worst part of it all is that we have yet to do what many of us consider to be the most difficult and heart-wrenching part of our job—explaining to a family that their loved one who left that morning to school or work will never be coming home.

As trauma surgeons who see what bullets do to people’s bodies, we have started asking ourselves if it is time to pull back the curtain and give Americans a look at the consequences of firearm violence—the damage done to the human body resulting in injuries too severe to repair, the despair of families torn apart and the shattering of communities. These are injuries we know all too well. Every day, in hospitals and trauma centers across the nation, healthcare professionals are on the frontlines of this uniquely American public health problem.

Firearm injury is a public health epidemic that’s so prevalent Americans have become desensitized to its impact. Annually, we see more than 48,000 deaths and at least two to three non-fatal injuries per death. Over recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of mass casualty shootings. In fact, in America, firearm violence is the number one cause of death in children. It is not car crashes. It is not poisoning. It is not cancer. It is bullet-related injury.

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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