With their rifles drawn and heads on a swivel, deputies escort students at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita– the latest location of a deadly school shooting. Just as law enforcement and educators are speaking out about the tragedy, so is the medical community.
“There’s no more of a horrible feeling than to tell a family member that their child is now deceased and no longer can play,” Jeffery Upperman, MD, said.
Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital’s Surgeon-In-Chief, Dr. Upperman said Thursday morning’s incident hit home. He is a long-time resident of Los Angeles County, who just recently transferred to Tennessee.
“Hearing about the tragedy, I could’ve been one of those trauma doctors in the bay.”
He is in San Diego this week with more than 500 medical professionals at the Pediatric Trauma Society Conference, to learn about the latest medical treatments that focus on the care of injured children.
Dr. Peter Masiakos is the Pediatric Trauma Director at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is speaking about the effects of gun violence.
“We all know that it’s far better to act on the side of prevention, instead of acting to fix the wounds,” Dr. Masiakos said.
He said too many kids come into the E.R. with gunshot wounds – via homicide, accident, or suicide. He said new federal policies need to be enacted to protect them, just like seat-belt legislation and the fight against tobacco.
“We have to engage the community like in the same way that Dr. C. Everett Koop did almost 40 years ago when he identified the issue of smoking and mitigated that,” Dr. Masiakos said.
They said school shootings are no longer just a gun issue, a school issue, or a law enforcement issue. They said it is a public health crisis.
“Physicians, seeing what we see, we are in our lane, and we talk about the issue of gun violence as we know what it is. And people need to step up and figure out a way to fix this because another Santa Clarita is not acceptable to us,” Dr. Masiakos said.