In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet
leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a
radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track
through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet
I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting
at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to
the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an
overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding.
How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?
The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma
surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found
only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an
AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly
lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left
to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done
to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.
In the same way that it is lunacy that the U.S. doesn’t allow the ATF’s gun-tracing division to use computers for searching gun records, it is sheer lunacy that the Center for Disease Control is forbidden to research gun violence. Lunacy.