Joseph R. Anticaglia, MD
Medical Advisory Board
Gun violence is endemic in the U. S., and is increasing at a lunatic rate. In 2020, a record 45, 222 Americans were shot dead especially from gun murders, and gun suicides. Gun murders accounted for 47% of gun deaths, suicides 54%, and three per cent were due to other causes such as unintentional gun deaths, and those involving law enforcement, according to the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Every year, approximately 120,000 Americans survivor the barrage of gun violence requiring psychological, medical, and /or surgical treatment. These individuals are often maimed for life. Some of the survivors fight devastating mental trauma, while others struggle with permanent, crippling injuries, such as loss of limb, of sight, and paralysis.
Gun murders, suicides, and injuries can , and have decapitated the bodies of children; and shattered the lives of parents, families, teachers, and communities. Such violence has become a public health crisis sprouting the emergence of more trauma centers, and trauma teams.
A trauma center, for example, is an area in a hospital that is verified by the American College of Surgeons to care for patients who are at a high risk of death or disability from major traumatic injuries.
The number of trauma patients admitted to a hospital each year, and the capability of the hospital’s staff, and resources determine the trauma center’s level. This post will emphasize three levels:
Level 1 Trauma Centers
A Level I trauma center provides the most comprehensive trauma care. To maintain Level I status, there must be greater than 1,200 trauma admissions per year. Also, these centers must participate in research, and the staff has publication requirements, and is required to complete yearly, minimum continuous medical education.
Level 2 Trauma Centers
This trauma level is like level I without r research, and publication requirement.
Level 3 Trauma Centers
These centers frequently manage fall-related injuries and fracture patients. Level III centers unable to manage high risk trauma patients, must be capable of transferring such patients to a level II, or III trauma center.
The shocking increase in the number of gun deaths, and mutilated lives due to gum violence in the U. S. has spotlighted the importance trauma teams play in saving lives A trauma team is a multidisciplinary group of health care professionals drawn from different specialties under the direction of a team leader who work in a trauma center organization.
The primary objectives of the team are:
- Revive someone from unconsciousness, or apparent death (resuscitate)
- Stabilize the patient’s vital signs, (heart rate, breathing rate blood pressure, temperature)
- Provide for an adequate airway
- Control bleeding
- Prioritize the injuries, and their extent
- Prepare the patient to be transported for definitive care.
Essential Composition of the Trauma team include:
- Team Leader
- Emergency room physician
- Trauma General Surgeon
- Orthopedic surgeon
Also included in the essential composition of the trauma are nurses, hematologists, laboratory, and blood bank personnel Neurosurgeon, Plastic surgeon, and Oro/maxillary surgeon are on stand -by, and as part of the trauma team, are immediately available to assist in the treatment of high risk trauma patients.
Trauma centers, and trauma teams illustrate the time, effort, skill ,and coordination needed to save a gun victim’s life. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, MD, Director of the CDC characterizes the Public Health gun violence crisis with these words,
People who survive a firearm-related injury may experience long-term consequences. These include problems with memory, thinking, emotions, and physical disability from injury to the brain; paralysis from injury to the spinal cord; and chronic mental health problems from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The effects of firearm violence extend beyond victims and their families. Shooting incidents, including those in homes, schools, houses of worship, workplaces, shopping areas, on the street or at community events can affect the sense of safety and security of entire communities and impact everyday decisions.
The economic impact of firearm violence is also substantial. Firearm violence costs the United States tens of billions of dollars each year in medical and lost productivity costs.
The freedom to go to school, go shopping, go to work, go to the theater, or anywhere else is being trampled on by gun violence The idea of taking a worry-free walk with your little boy or girl is a thing of the past. Parents are on alert every step of the way in the U. S. A.
About 124 Americans are shot dead each day from firearm-related incidents. Let’s learn from the successful experience of other countries in dealing with gun violence, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, England, and Europe, and put an end to this American Tragedy.
- CDC C(enter for Disease Control and Prevention; Fast Facts, May 4, 2022
- Andrew Georgiou1 and David J Lockey; The performance and assessment of hospital trauma teams; Scandinavian Journal of trauma, resuscitation, and emergency medicine Published online Dec 13, 2010
- American Trauma Society: Trauma Center Levels Explained
- Faul, Mark et al; Trauma Center Staffing, Infrastructure, and Patient Characteristics that Influence Trauma Center Need”. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. January 16, 2015
This article is intended solely as a learning experience. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options.