Friday, March 25, 2016 || Originally Published: Chicago Tribune || By Dr. Mark E. Cichon and Rev. Michael Hayes
Picture the scene at one of the busiest Level-1 trauma centers in the state on an unusually warm March night, when gunshots shattered lives and the victims arrived in waves. Doctors, nurses and emergency personnel rushed to give aid. In the waiting room, a chaplain consoled the traumatized mothers, brothers, sons and daughters.
Then replay the scene in your mind. Again. And again. And again.
Gun violence is as much of a public health concern as is the Zika virus, heart disease, cancer or obesity. The number of gunshot victims in our ER alone jumped almost 15 percent in 2015, and the victims are getting younger and younger. Yet, as a society, we’ve become almost immune to the news of another life lost. We implore you to understand the urgency of this issue. Regardless of one’s shape, color, sex or ZIP code, inside everyone’s blood is red and too much of it is spilling on our streets.
We must find ways to address this issue as one community, seeking solutions devoid of finger-pointing and angry rhetoric. Taking a scientific approach has been successful in treating health issues such as polio and HIV/AIDS. The same can be true with this plague of violence. Community and faith-based efforts are also essential to eradicating a climate of crime, such as the “Thou Shalt Not Murder” campaign in Chicago that aims to make this Easter Sunday a day without gun violence. Then perhaps one day can extend into two and snowball until we have a new norm and gunshot victims are a rarity again in emergency rooms.
Dr. Mark Cichon is the chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Rev. Michael Hayes is hospital chaplain, at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
U P C O M I N G E V E N T S
Celebrating Women In Leadership
March 26, 2 PM to 5 PM, Maywood Public Library, 121 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood