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Opinion

Readers React: ER doctors are much better experts than the NRA on the horrors of gun violence

Heart rate monitor, patient and doctors in background in intensive care unit
A heart rate monitor is seen with doctors in the background treating an intensive care unit patient.
(Caiaimage / Sam Edwards / Getty Images)

To the editor: There is much debate about what healthcare providers should or can do to help find solutions to the nationwide escalation of gun violence. In the same way physicians routinely ask their patients about alcohol consumption, we must ensure they talk to patients about gun safety.

We must do better at screening and treating mental health issues. We must unsterilize and decry gun violence and talk openly about the devastating impacts to victims, survivors and communities.

Recently, trauma care providers at one of our hospitals taught community members proper bleeding control techniques by using their hands, dressings and tourniquets. These “Stop the Bleed” classes, designed to make bleeding control as commonplace as CPR, are full.

I’m thankful that we are providing this training but saddened that we need it.

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This holiday season, we should think about the members of our communities who have empty seats at their tables. And, in addition to sending thoughts and prayers, let’s speak up and demand action about this public health crisis in honor of those whose lives have been taken.

If that’s not within our lane, I don’t know what is.

Erik G. Wexler, Irvine

The writer is chief executive of Providence St. Joseph Health, Southern California Region.

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To the editor: The problem with most doctors is they act as though nothing is more important than human life. America was founded on a different belief. Remember that “liberty or death” thing?

Today’s doctors would do well to heed the wise words of wisdom Dr. Ben Carson, currently the U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary: “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

Lloyd Forrester, Simi Valley

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To the editor: As a Navy physician during the Vietnam War who saw firsthand the consequences of wartime gun violence, I understand and support the position of the emergency room doctors who treat people injured or killed by guns.

For the National Rifle Assn. to tell these doctors to “stay in their lane” is simply insensitive and nuts. Certainly, a large part of civilian gun violence is strongly caused by mental illness and political or economic pressures beyond the capacity of society to correct them.

Leave the doctors alone.

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Michael L.Friedman, MD, Torrance

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