Condition Critical: Baltimore ERs Battle Gunshot Patient Epidemic


Just remember: when your ER is busy with this . . . they don’t have time for you

In the city of Baltimore Maryland garbage-level street violence is taking a toll not merely on victims, which is of course understandable. But what is lesser known is the affect it is having on inner city ERs, swamped as they are with hundreds of severely wounded gunshot patients. So much so that medical team members, already burdened with stress and exhaustion, are finding their trauma care resources stretched thinner than ever before, leaving  emergency caregivers in a nearly impossible struggle to save lives. 

The reality is that Black males are killing each other at an astounding pace – 344 homicides in the last year alone. Nearly 90% of the 2015 homicides were the result of shootings. Counting non-fatal shootings, gun violence was up more than 75% compared to the previous year. More than 900 citizens were shot.

With the appalling frequency of urban gorilla gun-crime growing worse by the month in Baltimore, keeping victims alive has become an ugly challenge for trauma care providers. Many experts are calling it a public health crisis, according to a The Baltimore Sun report. 

An ever-growing number of  victims transported to ERs by paramedics are now showing up with multiple bullet wounds. The result is that different surgical specialists are called upon to operate on different areas of the patient’s body at the same time.  

“Some of these people need three, four, five operations.” (Doctor Elliott Haut, Johns Hopkins Hospital trauma surgeon)

Baltimore’s EMS teams are world-famous for their skills, but the death statistics grow worse with each passing year. Over the last decade many programs have added staff to keep up with the flood. Johns Hopkins, for example, has increasing its full-time trauma physicians 600%. But more staff means more debt. Street gunshot violence costs Baltimore hospitals nearly $1,500,000 a month, partly because many, many of the victims have no insurance.

Here are but three irrefutable statistics:

  • More than 90% of homicide victims this year were male
  • More than 90% were Black
  •  More than half were between the ages of 18 and 30

Here’s another look at this societal scourge:


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