Washington, DC—In response to yesterday's shooting at Chicago Mercy Hospital, Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians released the following statement:
"On behalf of the nation's emergency physicians, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the police officer and Mercy Hospital employees murdered yesterday in an apparent domestic violence incident at the hospital. We are especially saddened by the murder of Dr. Tamara O'Neal, a 38-year-old emergency physician, and one of our colleagues.
“One tragedy amongst many tragedies. Five shot in Chicago, five shot in Denver, St. Louis… How many more throughout the country just yesterday? Through this past Saturday in Chicago alone, 2,656 people have been the victims of firearm violence in 2018.
“Everyday many people and families are harmed by firearms and those who wield them. Can we find the will collectively to say ‘enough already’ and do something other than watch, holding our breath for the next devastating event?
"While the shock and grief of this senseless tragedy are still fresh, we are resolved to redouble our efforts at dealing with what has unfortunately become a regular occurrence in our nation.
"Since the inception of our specialty, emergency physicians have been on the front lines in the prehospital setting and inside the nation's emergency departments, responding to acts of violence, such as this one. As a specialty, we will continue to lead and to collaborate with partners across the emergency response continuum, in efforts aimed at reducing potentially preventable deaths and disability due to these violent incidents."
“To this aim ACEP supports further research, and legislation, regarding the effectiveness and ramifications of extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) and Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO). ACEP is convening public health and injury prevention experts to review the current state of research and legislation regarding firearm violence and make recommendations to our board of directors. ACEP also supports the efforts of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM), a non-profit organization founded and led by emergency physicians. AFFIRM and others are working to end the epidemic of gun violence through research, innovation and evidence-based practice.”
ACEP abhors the current level of intentional and accidental firearm injuries and finds that it poses a threat to the health and safety of the public. In accordance with our policy, ACEP supports legislative, regulatory, and public health efforts that:
- Encourage the change of societal norms that glorify a culture of violence to one of social civility;
- Investigate the effect of socioeconomic and other cultural risk factors on firearm injury and provide public and private funding for firearm safety and injury prevention research;
- Create a confidential national firearm injury research registry while encouraging states to establish a uniform approach to tracking and recording firearm related injuries;
- Promote access to effective, affordable, and sustainable mental health services;
- Protect the duty of physicians and encourage health care provider discussions with patients on firearm safety;
- Promote the development of technology that increases firearm safety;
- Support universal background checks for firearm transactions;
- Require the enforcement of existing laws and support new legislation that prevents high risk and prohibited individuals from obtaining firearms by any means;
- Restrict the sale and ownership of weapons, munitions, and large-capacity magazines that are designed for military or law enforcement use.