Philly surgeon who cares for gun violence victims pushes for laws against assault weapons

Temple University Hospital sees 3,000 trauma patients each year, many with bullet wounds
Temple University Hospital's Trauma Center.
Temple University Hospital's Trauma Center. Photo credit Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio file

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A top surgeon with the Temple University Health System who regularly works with gunshot victims is calling for what she calls more sensible federal gun laws.

The push by surgeon-in-chief Dr. Amy Goldberg, joined by local Congress members, comes after the U.S. House passed a partial assault weapons ban this week.

Temple University Hospital has arguably one of the busiest trauma centers in the country.

Its emergency department treated more than 150,000 patients last year alone. 3,000 of those patients were trauma activations according to Dr. Goldberg, who says many of those people had gunshot wounds.

"Over the past five years, we've seen a 90% increase in gunshot wounds entering our emergency department. In my 30 years as a trauma surgeon at Temple Hospital, I have taken care of thousands of patients that have suffered from gunshot injuries, and that is just way too many,” said Dr. Goldberg.

"I realized a long time ago that taking care of patients affected by gun violence must go far beyond medications, surgery, and bandages. It must be about educating the young people we see in the trauma bays and those we might see."

Dr. Goldberg stood side-by-side with Philadelphia Democratic congressmen Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans Thursday afternoon.

They are pushing for a piece of legislation heading now to the U.S. Senate that targets assault weapons.

"The kinetic energy created by a bullet from an assault rifle shreds the body once it enters. These weapons destroy not just organs, but also bones and the vascular systems, and oftentimes lives,” said Dr. Goldberg. “This has to stop."

If passed, House Bill 1808 would bring back a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons, one that was in place in 1994.

President Joe Biden has said he supports the bill, but the Senate must approve it before he can sign it. It is likely to stall.

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