MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Regan Williams spoke on Thursday morning's incident and gun violence when it comes to children.
“Overnight, we had a devastating trauma come in that was a gunshot wound,” Dr. Williams said. “Those, unfortunately, have too frequently in our hospital and in our community and frankly, too frequently to children across the country.”
Le Bonheur treated 135 juvenile patients with gunshot wounds from January to October 2021. So far this year, they’ve treated 117 patients. The total number of patients treated at Le Bonheur for gunshot wounds last year was 158.
Dr. Williams said while some child victims of gun violence are by accident, that only makes up about 30 percent of their gunshot wound patients.
“That’s when a child gets ahold of a gun that isn’t stored safely, maybe has the bullets or is unlocked and either the child or family member or friend is playing with the gun and it goes off,” Dr. Williams said.
“About 30% of our injuries are related to accidental injuries, the other 70% are related to community violence. These are most often children that are caught in the crossfire so it’s adults that have adult conflicts there may be a child walking by. Oftentimes there are houses that are shot up and children just happen to be in the house.”
While there isn’t one solution that will fix the issue overnight, Dr. Williams said the number of guns in the community could impact the number of gun violence victims that doctors in the area have to treat.
“That’s just a really tough one, it’s very complex,” Dr. Williams said. “You definitely want to know where your children are at all times to keep them safe. I think that the less guns we have out on the street, the less community violence related to firearms we’re gonna have.”