Pediatric ER doctor shares stories of treating child victims of gun violence in light of national conversation on gun laws

gun violence
Photo credit Evgen Prozhyrko/Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A finding published this week in the Lancet Medical Journal by Lurie Children’s hospital physicians claims that firearms are now the leading cause of death for American children.

"The vast majority of firearm- related deaths in kids are homicides, meaning someone fired a gun at a child intentionally and that child was killed," said Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Lurie, Dr. Samaa Kemal.

"Firearm homicides are on the rise, and they disproportionately impact black youth who are 14 times more likely to die by firearms and their white peers."

Kemal shared stories Friday at a press event of her many experiences treating child victims of gun violence, and having all too often to tell parents that their child has died.

She shared a story that motivates her in demanding change for the nation's youth not limited to mental health services outreach and violence interruption programs and more prohibitive gun loss. The hospital ER received a call from an ambulance three minutes away with a teenager in critical condition wounded by gunfire.

"Once this child arrived, we did everything in our power to restart their heart. Despite the heroic efforts of our team, we could not bring this child back to life," she said.

"The final moment of calling the time of death will forever be one of the hardest things I have to do in my job."

Senator Dick Durbin was present as Dr. Kemal shared her stories. He said that in light of recent events in Texas and newly published findings on gun-related child deaths, that the conversation is turning on the U.S. Senate floor toward bipartisan agreements for more restrictive gun laws.

"There is no reason on God's earth for us to be selling military-style weapons designed only to kill people to an 18-year-old, who can wreak that kind of havoc in just a matter of an hour or two."

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