5 Kids Treated For Gunshot Wounds at Cook Children's in 1 week
ED doctor talks gun safety and children
Last week, five kids, ages ranging from 3 to 11 years old, were treated at Cook Children’s for accidental gunshot wounds. The shootings included a shotgun, two from a handgun, a BB gun and a pellet gun.
Fortunately, none of the children died from the shootings, but it left even a seasoned staff from the Emergency Department and Trauma team shaken.
“Gunshots are not something you should think of when you think of pediatrics,” said Corwin Warmink, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Cook Children's. “It takes a huge toll on our staff because we are treating children. These are young, innocent victims whose lives have ended or have been altered forever. Gunshots cause terrible injuries, even if there is not a death, they are devastating"
From 2016 to present, 24 kids have been treated at Cook Children's for a gunshot wound. Fourteen were for a BB gun shot, five from a pellet gun, four from a handgun and one from a 40-caliber weapon.
Dr. Warmink said a child-involved shooting carries with it an extra weight because of who inflicted the wound – another child or family member – and it can tear a family apart.
“It’s so frustrating because like drowning, this is something that is 100 percent preventable,” Warmink said. “There’s no reason why a child should have access to a gun, especially a loaded weapon and there’s no reason a child should have the ability to load the weapon.”
Guns in a house or car should never be loaded and accessible, Dr. Warmink said. The gun and the ammunition should be in separate locations and both places should be locked so the child won’t have access to them.
While a handgun or rifle can cause instant devastation, Dr. Warmink warns parents not to get complacent with pellet or BB guns.
“Pellet guns and BB guns can cause serious injuries, and we have seen deaths from them,” Dr. Warmink said. “It only takes one gunshot to the eye or chest for a kid’s life to be forever changed. A pellet gun into the heart or head can cause severe injury or even death.
Dr. Warmink does not mince words to who is responsible for a child-involved shooting – the adults are responsible for keeping guns out of the reach of children. He said some children, depending on age and maturity, won’t understand the finality of a gunshot wound.
"People talk about educating their children about guns, but young children can't comprehend how dangerous a gun is. With guns, it is not a matter of 'uh oh, I made a mistake, but will be smarter next time.' When it comes to gunshot wounds, you don't get a second chance," Dr. Warmink said.
*Data provided by the Trauma Registry of Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas.
About the Source
Corwin Warmink, M.D., is medical director of Cook Children's Emergency Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cook Children's Emergency Department (ED) treats more than 105,000 patients every year. Our ED is the only EMS-designated pediatric trauma center in Tarrant County. Now, thanks to years of dedication and hard work, Cook Children'sMedical Center has reached Level II Trauma Designation from the American College of Surgeons and the Department of State Health Services. Cook Children's Medical Center is one of nine such facilities in the state of Texas. Click to learn more.