New figures from Cook Children’s Medical Center show that Fort Worth hospital could potentially treat a record number of patients with gunshot wounds this year.
As of May 2021, the hospital had treated 35 children for gunshot wounds and two patients died from their injuries. In 2020, the number of patients treated for similar injuries stood at 47 and four deaths. In 2019, they treated 41 patients including five deaths.
Cook Children’s emergency doctor Dr Dan Guzman said most cases stemmed from unintentional shootings. The hospital is set to surpass previous years, Guzman said.
“It’s frustrating and it’s hurtful. You don’t want to see any child in this kind of situation, ”said Dr Guzman. “The vast majority that we see will be head and neck injuries. Because of these injuries, it is almost impossible to save a life because the damage has been done to our brains. “
Fort Worth pediatrician Dr Gary Floyd, former medical director of the emergency department of Cook Children and current president-elect of the Texas Medical Association, said education and prevention are essential.
“Unfortunately, it’s not just a local problem. It is a national issue. I can’t describe to you the devastation of trying to console parents when one sibling unintentionally shoots another sibling, ”Dr Floyd said.
Floyd adds that gun owners need to have open and honest conversations with their children.
“Firearms must be unloaded and locked. There should be trigger locks applied that require a key and that key must stay with the parent, ”he said. “If they want to have a loaded gun in the house, that gun should be on them. They should wear it so they know where it is every second.
Katia Gonzalez, Alliance for Children, said conversations about gun safety should not only take place between children and their parents, but also between other adults.
“Maybe if they are [children] going to a sleepover, maybe having that awkward… or potentially uncomfortable conversation and asking “hey, are there guns in the house?” “And other security issues that could result from it,” Gonzalez explained.
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