Shock Trauma


The homicide rate in America has been dropping for twenty years, yet the country is no less violent. Suggestions that community efforts, better police work and an aging population are responsible for the drop in homicides does not square with the fact that the number of people treated for gunshot attacks has grown by half in the past decade. More people are being shot, stabbed and assaulted but fewer are dying. Special trauma centers, their expertise informed by emergency medicine honed in America's foreign wars, have just as much to teach battlefield medics- and they do so. They perform life-saving miracles hour after hour, day after day in America's wars at home.

This is just one very busy overnight shift at the University of Maryland Medical Center's R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the course of the shift, the medical team responded to multiple gunshot victims, a stabbing, an assault, car accidents, suicide attempts, high school football injuries and other traumas considered bad enough to skip the regular emergency room. Each patient is a chance to hone the team's skills as they save not just the lives of accident victims, but the increasing number of the victims of violence.


Photographed for the Wall Street Journal

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