As violence surges, hospitals dealing with more shooting victims

Minneapolis city data shows an increase in gunshot wound victims, and hospitals in the metro are seeing that uptick firsthand.

According to the city’s data dashboard, 147 people have been shot in Minneapolis as of April 27, 2022. There were 129 gunshot victims compared to this timeframe in 2021.

Emergency room medical staff at North Memorial Health Hospital are seeing the increase in victims.

The moment a gunshot victim is dropped off at North Memorial, doctors say every second counts.

“There’s usually about 10 to 15 people involved in stabilizing and evaluating patients. It’s kind of a controlled but chaotic-looking dance,” Dr. Joseph Farhat, a North Memorial trauma surgeon, said. “It looks like more patients are coming in, but anytime anybody’s shot, that’s one too often.”

Farhat has been in the medical field for nine years. He said seeing gunshot wound patients is still tough.

“There’s patients that we see who come in talking to us and then we can see that they’re starting to die in front of our eyes and we have to take them to the operating room,” Farhat said. “Sometimes we do everything that we can and they don’t make it.”

Thea Williams is at the bedside of gunshot victims when they’re admitted to the hospital.

She’s a part of a city hospital-based program called “Next Step,” which connects victims of violent injury to a support system. Hospital responders provide resources that help victims heal and get back on their feet after a life-changing situation.

“There’s people who are just driving down the street and just get caught in an array of bullets,” Williams said. “It’s been eye-opening.”

The response team said it’s becoming second nature to treat gunshot victims and they’re hoping the trend slows down soon.

“Gun violence is horrible and I see the worst side of it. I hope that we can figure out a way to stop that,” Farhat said.

With summer right around the corner, the response teams say they’re preparing for more gunshot victims because violence typically ramps up as it gets warmer.