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KC violence taking a toll on local trauma surgeons

Posted at 10:40 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 23:40:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As a trauma surgeon, Dr. Robert Winfield has seen a lot.

As the Division Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at the University of Kansas Health System, he has gone into the Emergency Room in the middle of the night to tend to a car accident victim. He has responded when a stabbing victim needs surgery.

He knows what a bullet can do to a body.

“We see gunshots to people’s brain. We see gunshots to people’s necks, to their chest, to their hearts, to their lungs, their kidneys, anything you can think of. We see broken bones, we seen torn blood vessels. All of these things can be injured with just one shot,” Winfield said.

This year, the University of Kansas Health System is seeing an uptick in gunshot wound victims. So far, in 2019, the hospital has admitted 106 patients.

“It’s a challenge. It’s emotionally difficult for everyone when you tried hard to save someone’s life and have not been able to do it,” Winfield said.

The numbers provided only represent one side of the state line. They are also only representative of the victims who make it into the Emergency Room.

According to Winfield, for every person who is shot and killed, there are three more victims who are injured and survive.

“At that point it requires great nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy. All of these things become factors in a patient’s recovery,” he said. “It really does take a village to get people to recover from a gunshot wound.”