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April 25, 2017

Philadelphia trauma surgeons speak up about gun violence

There’s a surge of interest in the medical community to join the discussion

“It’s not enough to patch up people after they’ve been shot,” Penn trauma surgeon Dr. Jessica Beard recently told

The comment was made in regards to a renewed interest in the surgical community to push for more research into the causes of gun violence.

Last week, Penn trauma surgeon Dr. Shelby Resnick presented the findings of a paper she recently co-wrote on the topic at the American Surgical Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. In it, she and fellow Penn surgeons found that U.S. states with more stringent gun laws had fewer incidents of gun violence.

She noted that while the correlation is the result of “preliminary research,” it points to a need for a closer look at gun laws and gun violence.

Beard, a contributor to the piece, published an additional paper, "Structural Causes of Urban Firearm Violence: A Trauma Surgeon's View From Philadelphia," in The Journal of the American Medical Association last month urging the medical community to speak out on the need for more research on the causes and faces of gun violence.

In the piece, Beard notes that there is a stigma often associated with being injured by gun violence in an urban area and that it's inaccurate.

She writes, "We as trauma surgeons know that many of our patients are educated, employed and support their families and children," adding that many of the victims she and her colleagues treat were "in the wrong place at the wrong time" and likely wouldn't have been shot if they lived in a different area.

"The elephant in the room of firearm injury epidemiology is the incredible racial/ethnic disparity in the incidents of firearm assaults," Beard writes.


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