Child gun violence has impact on hospital staff, doctors say

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Doctors at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital are sharing their experiences with gun violence involving children after an 11-year-old was accidentally shot in Whitehaven on Sunday night.

Police say his 13-year-old brother got hold of a cousin’s gun and fired it, accidentally hitting the young boy.

The 11-year-old is still in critical condition while his brother and cousin are both facing charges.

Doctors at Le Bonheur say they are seeing more cases similar to this situation.

“I do think the rate is growing increasingly high, especially here in Memphis,” Emergency Room Clinical Director Barbie Stewart said. “It’s not just criminals that you have to be scared of. These are guns that are left out in the home and these are siblings playing with each other that have no intention of hurting each other, and kids are still getting injured.”

Stewart says the staff’s passion is to protect children but some days are harder than others.

“We’ve made it our life’s mission to save kids and save the lives of kids and gun violence is something that’s preventable,” Stewart said.

She says each case begins to have an impact on doctors and other staff.

“The more you get exposed to the trauma, the more likely it is you’re going to have sleepless nights or be at risk for compassion fatigue.” she said. “Some people ultimately leave the profession because of it.”

The hospital offers several resources including a chaplain for the staff/

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