NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – By air or by ground transport, this weekend will probably resemble most weekends where gunshot victims are rushed to emergency rooms for care.
Last year set a record in Norfolk, with 541 gunshot wounds that claimed 69 lives. At Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, 20 children were treated for gunshot wounds and one child died.
There is hope that a stand against violence from the medical community will loosen the grip gun violence has on the nation. What starts with patients in emergency rooms affects an entire hospital.
“They [gunshot wound patients] go to rehab, they go to the O.R. (operating room), respiratory therapy takes care of them,” said Valeria Mitchell, trauma program manager at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. “They go to every department in this hospital.
In an annual observance, just feet away from two trauma centers, care providers, including some who were dressed in orange t-shirts, stood with those who survived gun violence while loved ones displayed the names of the dead.
After the ceremony, there was an improbable intersection of two high-profile gun violence cases.
On the evening of March 18, 2022, a man in Portsmouth was shot 5 times and was rushed to Sentara Norfolk General where the trauma team saved his life. A few hours later, three people, including Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins, were shot and killed on Granby Street in Norfolk. At the observance ceremony the Portsmouth survivor, Kyle Belton, embraced Jenkins’ grieving grandmother, Pamela Jenkins.
“I don’t know how it’s going to end,” Jenkins said. “There’s got to be something we can do as a community to bring us all together.”
In a nation that has more guns than people, Sentara this summer will roll out a program that calls on the public to prepare to respond to gun violence.
Stop the Bleed training will give citizens information on how to provide care to victims of gun violence that could potentially save a victim’s life.
“We are going to be doing some stop the bleed education,” Mitchell said. “We think it’s important that people in the community know-how, if they come upon somebody who has been shot, to do life-saving techniques until the ambulance can get them to us.”