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‘Go to a different hospital’: Jefferson Hospital Emergency Department had to divert patients following mass shooting

By Stephanie Stahl

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    PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — Philadelphia hospitals were flooded with patients early Sunday after the mass shooting on South Street. Doctors say the public health crisis of gun violence is impacting the mental health of many in the community.

Emergency departments are dealing with a record number of gun injuries, and doctors say even if you’re not directly impacted gun violence takes a toll on the community.

“Go to a different hospital. We have seven people on location shot at Jeff.”

Jefferson’s emergency department quickly filled with shooting victims Saturday night and had to divert patients. Several city hospitals were scrambling to take care of people injured on South Street.

“We do try and coordinate with each other and EMS so that the hospitals can help each other through these kinds of events,” said Dr. Joel Fein, an emergency physician and co-director of CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention, which focuses on the public health crisis of gun injuries. “Unfortunately, we have to do it again and again and again.”

Medical teams on the front lines have become overwhelmed with gun violence. Dr. Amy Goldberg is the head of trauma at Temple University Hospital.

“The hardest part will always be telling a family, a mother, a father, that their loved one has died. It is gut-wrenching,” Goldberg said.

At CHOP, there is now a gun violence victims memorial that opened this weekend.

“How could anybody be quiet? Everybody should have a voice. Everybody should get outraged,” said Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight.

Johnson-Speight founded the violence prevention organization Mothers in Charge after her 24-year-old son died from gun violence.

“It may be your son or daughter tomorrow because no one is safe until we’re all safe,” she said.

Research has shown that the gun violence crisis has also created a mental health crisis.

“Feeling unsafe in your environment doesn’t allow you to concentrate on the things that may be as important or more important in your life to really live a healthy and productive existence,” Fein said.

According to the latest data from the CDC, the nation saw a 35% jump in firearm deaths from 2019 to 2020.

The country also recorded the highest number of annual gun deaths, more than 45,000.

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