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Tag: gun violence

Shooter

Monday, August 28, 1:15 pm
Chapel Hill, NC

“Remain inside the building until further notice.”

The security alert on my phone screen is terse. Part of me is annoyed by its tone—long on commands, short on details. Sitting safely in my car after visiting a hospice patient, twenty miles from UNC’s hospital and university in Chapel Hill, I ignore the text, chalking it up to an overreaction by the security department.

The next alert, twenty minutes

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He Was Not the First Dead Man I X-Rayed

in the Orlando Morgue that summer,
but he was the only one who ever turned
to face me as I lifted his arm for a side view,
trying to locate where the bullet had lodged.
His eyes shut, mouth slack, the dime-sized
hole in his ruined chest, the damp trail
of blood disappearing behind his back.

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Another GSW

Flashback to a year ago: I’m a third-year medical student, three weeks into my very first clinical rotation—acute-care surgery at our county hospital.

It’s nearing dinner time, less than halfway through my twenty-eight-hour call shift, when my pager buzzes, alerting me to an incoming trauma. Looking down, I read three letters: “GSW.”

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Caught in the Crossfire

I’ll call him Rocky. In a drive-by incident, his father was killed, and Rocky, age one, was shot multiple times.

His initial resuscitation was heroic—he received medicines to support his blood pressure, underwent emergency surgeries and was still attached to machines to support his breathing—but by the time I met him, the drama of his shooting had receded: He and his medical team had settled into a stable routine.

Though I suspect that the team had

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Gunshot

Detroit, January 1997

In a haze of sleeplessness, I open the door to the general-surgery call room (aka “the Garage”) just after midnight. I’m one of two third-year medical students on this call team, and if I arrive first, I might be able to avoid the bunks with the most creased sheets and the pillows with head indentations still on them. The entire general-surgery team sleeps in this one room, with its messy bunks for

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Casseroles and Conversations

2017 was a heartbreaking year for our family.
To start things off, my wife’s parents–both of them!–were diagnosed with terminal illnesses. We spent the next few months immersed in the painful, complex process of transitioning them to home hospice care and beginning to face and grieve the prospect of their deaths.
In the midst of this, Hurricane Harvey began heading towards Houston, our hometown. My wife, Marsha, drove to her parents’ ranch, south of the

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