Local trauma surgeons working to stop gun violence across US

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio trauma surgeons are getting involved to help curb gun violence across the nation.

Dr. Donald Jenkins, professor of surgery at UT Health San Antonio and trauma center surgeon at University Hospital, is one of three local surgeons who helped co-author a safety manuscript published Wednesday in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. He’s a veteran and an NRA life member.

“There is no way we're going to solve this problem if we don’t have health care professionals, citizens, proponents of the Second Amendment all coming together to solve this problem,” he said.

In October alone, Jenkins' hospital treated 64 penetration wounds, which includes guns and knives, 12 of them were children; 25 were gunshot victims.

The guidelines include stricter background checks, firearm registration, more gun safety classes, mandatory reporting of those deemed a threat to themselves or others and the use of technology to enhance firearm safety.

“Some of the things could take years, if not generations, to work through, where others would be changed nearly immediately,” Jenkins said.

Surgeons also think mass shootings should be treated as terroristic crimes so that federal agencies could get involved in tracking and stopping them before they take place.

The media, they say, also has a role in limiting the amount of information released about the shooter and weapons used to possibly prevent copycat attacks.

Eighteen of the 22 surgeons who contributed to the article, according to Jenkins, are NRA members, firearm owners and some have military experience.

“I believe strongly in the (NRA's) mission to protect our Second Amendment right and also to educate the public. (The NRA) are the ones that provide more safety training than any organization in the world,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said it’s the responsibility of surgeons to help prevent injuries all around.  

“If you have car crash problems, you would work with the automotive industry,” he said. “So if you have gunshot problems, we should be working with the manufacturers of those weapons and the proponent behind them — the NRA.”

Jenkins said surgeons met with NRA members face to face in early January 2017 to talk about firearm safety. He said their end goals are the same.

“No one wants to see a person get injured by a firearm. No one wants to see someone die," Jenkins said.

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