'It has been pretty dramatic,’ Carilion trauma surgeon speaks on case volume from violent incidents in Roanoke

Published: Sep. 19, 2020 at 9:47 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Even with Fall on the horizon, the summer violence spike has not stopped.

This past week Roanoke has seen five violent acts. Two of them turned deadly.

“Its been pretty dramatic, and people have noticed it. People both inside and outside the hospital have noticed the uptick," said Dr. Mark Hamill, a trauma surgeon at Carilion.

While Roanoke Police handle the investigations, victims are taken to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Sometimes the injuries are minor. Other times, they aren’t.

“I mean, some of the injuries we see are not life-threatening, especially the firearms injuries, it’s just through and through, soft tissue injuries, but others have head injuries, chest injuries, abdomen injuries,”said Hamill.

That means involving other departments in the hospital.

In a trauma bay, anywhere from 8-15 people work on one patient.

“Some of them can be discharged directly from the emergency department if we don’t find any immediate life-threatening injuries, however others require big surgical interventions and can be here sometimes weeks if not months afterwards.”

Dr. Mark Hamill’s primary role is a trauma surgeon, but he’s also a member of Roanoke’s Task Force to reduce gun violence.

Hamill says the city’s priority should be the root of the violence.

“The firearm is a mechanism. We see shootings, we see stabbings, we see people assaulted, assaulted with instruments, baseball bats, it’s the violence itself," said Hamill.

And if there’s less, that means fewer patients and fewer spent resources.

“You don’t want to end up here. Anything you can do to avoid ending up here is a step in the right direction.”

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