The Trauma in Tucson

“As I look out the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful,” …. “Unfortunately, it is not.”

“We’re better than this. We must do better.”

Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Gifford’s brother-in-law and Commander of Expedition 26 on the International Space Station.

 

My heart goes out to the family of Gabrille Gifford and all those who lost their lives or were injured in the senseless act of violence that took place in Tucson this week. Along with many who have expressed the same sentiments, I hunger for a day that we can stop language of hatred and division in our country and move towards peaceful coexistance. As a physician, I also hunger for better understanding and treatment of those with serious mental illness.

I also offer my support for the physicians, nurses and health care personnel who are caring for the victims of this attack. Those who care for trauma victims are not immune to the emotions that accompany these vicious attacks. To work in surgery, and specifically in trauma surgery, requires the ability to focus completely on the task at hand, and move your emotions to a “compartment” to deal with later. This kind of situation, like child abuse, is among the hardest to compartmentalize, and doing so can take a real toll.

To all of you who are working to help the victims in Tucson, and to all doctors, nurses, and health care personnel everywhere who deal with this kind of trauma – we are thinking of you.

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