A recent study suggests that gunshot wounds produced by violent episodes, such as the one occurred in Orlando last Sunday, have become increasingly more fatal.
Mass shootings are more frequent than ever, but they account for just a fraction of the overall count of gun-afflicted patients in the United States.
One of the most regarded factors concerning this issue is the evolution of guns when compared to vehicles. Guns become more powerful and sophisticated each day, while cars are always aimed towards becoming safer for both occupants and pedestrians.
Studying the mortality of gunshot wounds
28,948 patients who were committed to Denver Health Medical Center’s trauma division from 2000 to 2013 were reviewed. About 6 percent of them presented gunshot wounds. The study revealed that the mortality rate of those afflicted by bullets increased steadily as years passed. In comparison, the number of deaths due to other types of trauma injury did not increase whatsoever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 34,000 Americans passed away due to gunshots in 2013.
Researchers ruled out that the reason behind the increase in gunshot mortality was a lack of emergency medical services, as there were no changes in deaths at the scene over the course of the study.
Physicians from all over the U.S. have addressed the country’s mass shooting epidemic. Dr. Robert Glatter from New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital commented that, although the study took into account a single medical center, there is a significant need of working towards reducing gun violence on a nationwide basis.
Gunshots have several side-effects that may remain latent after the wound has been attended. Fractures due to gunshots take longer to heal, and damaged nerves and blood vessels are given little to no chance of fully recovering. As of late, wounds produced by assault rifles have become more frequent.
Assault rifles have much higher firepower than regular handguns, which may be an indicator behind the deaths of the patients. Gunshots from assault rifles are easily able to pierce organs and cause a broader damage to bodily tissue.
The problem with gun control
Even if it is evident that gunshots are deadly in any scenario, there is little information that allows for a clear statement on the severity of a mediocre gun control policy. According to the research team, gun research funding is very limited even if it is a very sought-after research field.
From 1996 up to 2003, the CDC was not allowed to fund studies that involved nationwide gun violence. The Obama administration eliminated the restriction after the Sandy Hook shooting. Also, in 2004, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired, which now allows any weapon to carry over ten bullets per magazine.
Physicians fear that if this issue remains without addressing from a political point of view, it is very likely that the U.S. will see an increased number of mass shootings, perhaps even worse than the one that just occurred in Orlando where 50 people resulted dead, and 53 were wounded.