This program is for victims of gun violence. GREAT program at Temple Hospital’s dept of Surgery. They educate their victims and families and show the actual videos of their surgery – terrifying but eye-opening, for both them and their friends and families – and it transforms them into ambassadors for a peaceful way of life…


… Temple has also created an intervention component, called Turning Point, where shooting victims get extra counseling while they’re still in the hospital. “They come in, they’re very scared,” Goldberg said. “‘Am I gonna die? Where’s my Mom?’ Then, as soon as they would recover, they would not be so scared anymore, which maybe wasn’t good.” So if a victim is between 18 and 30 years old, he’s offered a series of supports in addition to the usual visits with Charles and a social worker. Temple asks the patients if they want to talk to a trauma survivor. And they are given an opportunity to view a video of their own trauma-bay resuscitation. (The surgeries in the trauma area are videotaped for quality control.) About half say yes. Charles shows them the video. They get psychological counseling for any PTSD symptoms, as well as case management services to help them get high-school diplomas or jobs.

Turning Point was initially controversial within the hospital. Some doctors thought it was cruel to show patients videos of their own surgeries, especially patients who had done nothing wrong. But Goldberg argued that she wasn’t judging anyone’s past or even asking about it. “The only way I know how to deal with a problem is, let’s break it down. Let’s try to educate,” she said.

Breaking it down has involved doing science. Goldberg and her team have needed to gather data about questions that have never been rigorously answered, a common situation when it comes to gun violence. For instance, when a paramedic first finds a gun or stabbing victim, nobody knows if it’s better to administer IV fluids and put a tube down the victim’s throat on the spot, or if the medic should simply race the victim to the hospital. Trauma surgeons have long suspected that the latter option is preferable—most shooting victims actually arrive at Temple in the back of police cruisers, a practice the cops call “scoop and run”—but there has never been a long-term randomized study.

So Temple launched one. It’s called the Philadelphia Immediate Transport in Penetrating Trauma Trial (PIPT), an elaborate undertaking that has involved close coordination with emergency personnel and also dozens of community meetings where doctors explained how the study works (over the next five years, some victims of penetrating trauma will receive immediate transport and some won’t) and how people can opt out of the study (by wearing a special wristband). In that same spirit, Goldberg has been gathering data on the Turning Point program. For years, patients have been randomized into a control group and an experimental group. One group gets typical care and the other gets Turning Point, and then patients in both groups answer a questionnaire that quantifies attitudes toward violence.

In November the hospital published its first scientific results from Turning Point, based on 80 patients. According to Temple’s data, the Turning Point patients showed “a 50% reduction in aggressive response to shame, a 29% reduction in comfort with aggression, and a 19% reduction in overall proclivity toward violence.” Goldberg told me she was proud of the study, not only because it suggested that the program was effective, but also because it represented a rare victory over the status quo. Turning Point grew out of her experience with that one patient in 1992, the three-time shooting victim who died the third time. It took her that long to get the authority, to gather the data, to get it published, to shift the system a little bit.

This excerpt is from “What Guns do to Bodies” – read the full article: http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/gun-violence/

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