For our News 4 Investigates exclusive report on the cost of gunshot violence in St. Louis, we worked with Barnes-Jewish (BJC) and St. Louis University (SLU) Hospitals. These are the only Level One and Level Two Trauma Centers in St. Louis city and as a result these are where gunshot victims are transported for treatment.
Many gunshot victims from outside the city of St. Louis are also transported to SLU and BJC for treatment.
Here are the numbers:
Our News 4 Investigative team began working with SLU and BJC last September for our examination of the cost of treating gunshot victims. Each hospital provided us with numbers for gunshot victims transported for treatment for as long as ten years ago. For the purpose of our report who chose to focus on one year, 2014.
Assigning a dollar amount, or a "cost" for treating gunshot victims is difficult and for the purposes of our investigation we used rough averages provided by the hospitals and our own calculations. The methodology we used is outlined below: (Note that we are combining the numbers provided by the two hospitals for one grand total.)
Gunshot victims for 2014:
-568 out-patient (relatively minor wounds)
-547 Level 1/Level 2 patients (serious wounds)
-Total patients seen in 2014: 1,115
The rough average cost for treating gunshot victims was given as $10,000 - $20,000. We split the difference and went with a figure of $15,000.
-Patients with severe, critical injuries can require extensive care, surgery, rehab, etc., and the costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
-For our report, we used a very conservative rough cost of $50,000 for serious, or level 1 and/or level 2 patients.
-568 out-patient at $15,000 = $8,520,000
-547 serious at $50,000 = $27,350,000
That brought us to our total cost of gun violence for 2014: $35,870,000So the cost of gun violence, almost entirely perpetrated by blacks in the city of St. Louis (consult the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Annual Report for confirmation of this fact), was $35 million for the year 2014.
A gun is a tool, an inanimate object. It takes a human to pull the trigger, causing a chain reaction ultimately producing a round to fire out of the barrel of the gun; if this action doesn't occur, the round (bullet) will stay safely chambered within the gun.
Because of individual black people's proclivity to pull the trigger of a gun, the chain reaction ends with the bullet hitting their target: almost exclusively other black people (some have tried to claim the
Joseph DeLucia, is an emergency medicine physician at St. Louis University Medical Center, a Level I trauma center that specializes in gunshot wounds and stabbings. He has been quoted discussing the "horrifying, literally horrifying" nature of watching families fall on the ground as they bemoan the death of a family member via a bullet being deliberately fired in their direction.
He also wrote an essay for Emergency Physicians Monthly, which described the typical patient he sees in the St. Louis University Medical Center and the reason for their visit. [Handling hysteria, EPMonthly, 1-30-2008]:
Tires screeched as a car pulled away from the ambulance bay. Security shouted over the loud speaker, “Help needed on ambulance bay, man shot!” Nurses and techs ran out to see a 325 lb., black, middle-aged man writhing on the floor in pain, screaming, “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot!” They threw him on the stretcher and wheeled him into the trauma room. Multiple attempts were made to start two large bore IVs. By the time I arrived, the trauma room was filled with staff holding the victim down. I saw a diaphoretic, hyperventilating, obese male, both arms covered in blood. He was hysterical. The nurses looked at me, shouting, “Intubate him, he’s getting dusky!” I performed a rapid sequence intubation, paralyzing the patient. The screaming stopped. The nurses calmed down. Finally, the trauma surgeon arrived. He methodically cut off all the man’s clothing and examined every skin fold and orifice. No wounds were found. The only blood was from the multiple IV attempts. The patient was then allowed to awaken and extubated. Calm from the versed used for intubation, his only complaint was a scratchy throat. Finally, he related the story: after having a few beers at a local pub, he went into the bathroom to relieve himself, at which point he was robbed at gunpoint. Upon fleeing, the assailants fired several shots back at him, “but I guess they missed.”Even worse, we are forced to consider this black violence a situation worthy of labeling as creating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). [Chart: Trauma Hospitals Fail to Screen for Civilian PTSD, Propublica.com, 3-4-2014]:
The hospital is currently researching the best way to implement routine PTSD screening, and hopes to have the screening in place by the end of the year, according to Helen Sandkuhl, the director of nursing, emergency, trauma and disaster services.
Currently, Sandkuhl said, the hospital’s doctors and nurses follow up if they notice potential symptoms, both in the hospital and in outpatient visits at the trauma clinic. But having a standardized screening tool in place “would be ideal,” Sandkuhl said.
High levels of gun violence have been a constant over Sandkuhl’s 40 years as an emergency room nurse in St. Louis, and across the river in East St. Louis, Illinois, a small city with a violent crime rate higher than Flint, Michigan. She remembers young men in East St. Louis so accustomed to coming into the trauma center for gunshot wounds that they would come into the hospital, run past the nurses’ station, “stating, ‘Come-on, I been shot,’ while running to the Trauma Resuscitation Rooms.” And over the past decade, the number of gunshot wound patients St. Louis University Hospital has seen each year has actually increased, from 150 to 250 or even 300 a year, according to hospital statistics.
“Most young guys that are shot, their access to healthcare is horrific,” Sandkuhl said. “Once the initial injury is over, follow-up is very hard to get. They go on, develop PTSD, they don’t really have an outlet. So what happens, a lot of times, they seek drug and alcohol use—they are on substances that mask anxiety. Even their social support isn’t aware of what they’re going through.”
“You have the gang bangers that try to act tough — they go through the same stress disorders that everybody else goes through,” she said. “They’re not different from anyone else.”
“Sometimes it’s very difficult,” she added. “They don’t want to admit that they need the help.”If the person who shot them had better marksmanship, then the crisis of PTSD for blacks in St. Louis wouldn't exist (not to mention the advances in medicine and trauma center surgeons, who fight Darwin and keep these victims of black violence alive).
The cost of black people using guns as a weapon in St. Louis for 2014 was $35 million. That's just one city in America, where black violence is an everyday fact of life.
The cost for Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Memphis, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, Charlotte, Newark, New York City... well, it's a cost the National Rifle Association (NRA) doesn't want to admit exists, because it reveals a fact almost any sane person should immediately understand: black people shouldn't be allowed to have access to guns.