The Quiet Room 

A story of a child’s gun death in America

“At the end of an inconspicuous hallway and strategically placed far from the controlled chaos of the trauma room lies a dimly lit waiting area that we in the medical field call “the quiet room.” It is a bland spot; a few soft chairs surround a table that holds a box of crisp institutional tissues. There may be a picture or two on the wall, but generally it is an unassuming room where we physicians tell mothers about the deaths of their children, far too often because of firearm violence.

As we make our way to this room, we recite a careful script; we use words intended to ease this painful first-and-only meeting. The reality is that over the years, we have found that there is no good way to tell a mother that her child has died, especially when the unexpected death might have been avoidable.

We introduce ourselves as the doctor who took care of their child. We take a deep breath, look into their eyes, and quickly break the devastating news — there is no reason to delay. What follows is the visceral, piercing shriek of a mother’s wailing, “Please God, not my baby!” We often weep with these mothers, we sometimes quietly blame ourselves for not being able to do more to save their baby’s life — and when they are alone, as is often the case, we hold them up while they cry.

We walk away from the encounter, our stomachs churning from the stale, metallic scent of a child’s blood barely dried on our clogs, our faces streaked with tears, and our hearts gripped in a vise as we tell ourselves that this senseless dying must end. But it doesn’t end. Another child is shot, and another mother is heartbroken.”

This is the beginning of a story from the New England Journal of Medicine from December 21st, 2017. The story of what happens AFTER the big headlines. How doctors fight to save the lives of the victims and then have to deal with the mothers and fathers.

Yet for very explainable reasons, research into the reasons behind these scenes is illegal in this country. That is right – forbidden by law. Remember doctors live in a world of science where scientific methods are used to research and isolate causes of diseases and accidents. Strangely it is ILLEGAL to do research on the hows and whys of gun deaths in America.

Why? Without much research I think we can arrive at a consensus – it might cut into gun sales and profits of the gun industry. So what you ask? Well the gun industry has an iron grip on at least those in the Republican Party often dictating their stand on gun issues. 

If you value freedom in this country be sure to free some legislators, congress critters and other various officials from the grip of the gun industry this fall. Apparently they are too weak to do so on their own.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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