The number of gun-related deaths per year in America is now at its highest point in the last 30 years. But in California, in that same time frame, the numbers have fallen by nearly 30 percent—due in no small part to the relentless efforts of Dr. Garen Wintemute.
Physicians and researchers at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and several other organizations have developed a clinical guide to help providers get more comfortable recognizing a patient's risk of firearm injury or death.
As a physician, my loyalty is to my patients: listening to their stories, helping them choose medications, then getting them home to their families. But when that patient is a potential school shooter, my loyalties get complicated.
Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician who is the director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, said that the rise in firearm deaths was a result of “a national unwillingness to take this problem seriously.”
Two policies exist today that if properly designed, widely enacted, and adequately implemented would likely have saved lives lost in past mass shootings and could potentially save many more in the future. Their benefits would extend far beyond reducing the incidence of mass shootings.