COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Heartbreak is being felt far and wide after 19 children and two teachers were killed in the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Here in Ohio, a local surgeon is sharing the trauma health professionals face when their patients are young children. Dr. Carrie Sims is the Chief of Trauma, Critical Care and Burn division at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. She says her heart aches for the medical professionals who fought to save the lives of the children and teachers who died.
“It’s very challenging to take care of someone so tiny and so small and so vulnerable without going to that dark place of this could have been your child as well,” said Dr. Sims.
She added it can be emotional to operate on young children.
“High-velocity weapons go into the body and create this shockwave that just destroys the tissue,’ Sims said.
Medical training, she says teaches professionals to think critically first.
“It’s only really afterward that it really hits you — what has just happened and then you have countertransference you know how this could have been your own child,” Sims said.
Kenneth Yeager is the Director of Stress, Trauma and Resilience program. The STAR program talks with staff daily, addressing burnout, tough cases, anything.
“It just, it strikes to the core of the world not being safe and wondering what’s going on around us,” Yeager said.
Yeager says it is important for health professionals to talk about what they went through.
“Because all of the highly skilled professionals have been trained to think critically, they’re really overly critical of themselves and they say things to themselves like ‘I should have’ or ‘if I’d only’.”
Dr. Sims says she wants her fellow health professionals in Texas to know this.
“The whole of the medical community is there in spirit with you and really trying to hold you up and support you through this very difficult time and I also want them to know that we’re also with you in terms of making this never to happen again.”
Sims says most shooting cases involving children are handled by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Still, there have been times when teens come into their emergency department, and they only find that out after treatment.