Boston Medical Center Trauma Docs Speak Out On Gun Control

Boston Medical Center (Wikimedia Commons)

Boston Medical Center (Wikimedia Commons)

No one has a closer view of the tragedies wrought by gun violence than doctors at a place like Boston Medical Center, which has the busiest emergency and trauma service in New England. Today, as gun control is front and center on the national stage, a group of BMC emergency doctors posted an open letter on the new Boston Trauma blog. It reads in part:

As witnesses to the consequences of gun violence on a daily basis and in response to the recent horrific events of December 14th, we feel strongly that a frank discussion of the role of firearms in our society is overdue.

Trauma providers see injuries and deaths due to firearms first-hand. The 16-year-old who will never again move his lower extremities after being shot multiple times will never become a statistic worthy of the media’s attention; his future is limited and punctuated by further suffering due to his condition. Or the 20-year-old shot multiple times in the head whose mother does not recognize him due to the damage to his face as the trauma team fights to save his life. This young man dies despite the heroic efforts of every component of the medical community. Such people come to us on a daily basis and for each one that dies there are hundreds more who are forever altered by sublethal firearm injuries and who go unnoticed by society at-large.

Read the full post here. It concludes:

We do not want silence on our part to be interpreted as acceptance of the status quo. We insist on a meaningful discussion of the role of firearms in our society. We believe that military grade/assault type weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips that have the sole purpose of taking human life should have no role in a society at peace. The easy access to them by an individual represents an unnecessary and unacceptable threat to our society and to the individuals within it.

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  • tomdmeyer

    1. Registration & background checks are already required in MA, so job done.

    2. There isn’t much evidence that limiting magazine size increases public safety; after all, James Holmes’ AR-15 jammed because he used a ridiculously out-sized one. Besides, all new magazines in MA are already restricted to <= 10 rounds, so job done (for what it's worth).

    3. In MA, you're already required to report a stolen or missing firearm to police, and are subject to criminal penalty if you don't. Yet again, job done.

  • Julie S

    We changed the culture around cigarettes, now let’s take guns off the streets!. Australia was able to bring the death rate way down with buy backs and a tremendous public service campaign that changed the laws to restrict gun ownership and they had a very high gun death rate statistic similar to ours – certainly nobody needs assault weapons at all and why not raise the insurance requirements for gun ownership- homeowners insurance is higher for certain breeds of dogs but not for guns!
    The issue of illegal guns is a big one but nothing is insurmountable if there is the will to make our cities and our schools, and our movie theaters and public transportation safer. It is tragic that children navigate their early years in a state of fear. Some of us grew up in a time when we did not lock our bikes in the city and neighbors greeted one another.
    We are in this together. Let’s just do it- We are the change!
    Julie S

  • sportsman

    Maybe most or at least a few of the gunshot victims are gang bangers or mixed up in drugs. Did any LISCENSED gun owners shoot them?

  • Edward Ellis

    I was taught by my Grandpa, (West Point Grad ’16, Career Military, Native of Texas), that firearms are tools. They can feed a family, protect one’s home, etc. They can also be used to kill people. It’s not the weapon, (NEVER a Gun), but the one behind it that makes the choice. For good or ill. I believed him then, and still do. Having said that, I stand firmly with our President on “Gun” Control.

  • Joe B.

    Guns will always be around. They are an important part of our history, and woven into the fabric or our society and have contributed to the strong and free nation we have become. Banning them will not make any difference. A culture change is necessary which will take a generation and must begin with our youth.

  • Reasonable?

    Public response to violence is very curious.

    The massacres naturally pull our attention, but the most prevelent issues of gun violence involve handguns and fewer deaths/injuries per incidence.

    I hope 3 reforms prevail:

    1. Require registration and background checks.

    2. Ban high capacity clips (greater than 10 bullets).
    3. Increase gun owner responsibility eg if a gun registered to you is used in a crime, there will be a mandatory 10,000 dollar penalty.

    4. Increase the penalty for international gun trafficking.

    I’m not at all sure that any of those policies would have prevented the Newtown or other massacres, but I’m hopeful that they could affect some of the most prevalent incidences of gun violence.