Cook County officials call for researching gun violence

Every year, doctors at Stroger Hospital treat about 900 victims of gun violence and have become experts at what they call resurrection medicine.

In the wake of the nightclub shooting in Orlando where 49 people were murdered, the American Medical Association called gun violence a national health crisis, which is something that trauma surgeons in Chicago come face to face with every day.

“The injuries we see can be devastating to our patients, changing their entire lives even if they survive,” said Dr. Faran Bokhari, Chairman of the Trauma Department at Stroger Hospital.

On Tuesday, Cook County officials said it was time for an end on the ban that prevents federal funds from being spent on researching gun violence. A ban that is blamed on congressional gun lobbyists, and in particular, the NRA.

“Prohibiting the Centers for Disease Control from conducting such research flies in the face of common sense and hinders our ability to address this national scourge,” said Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President. “Would we allow brewers and distillers to block federally funded research into alcoholism? I don't think so.”

Health officials stressed that violence is a complex problem that involves more than just guns, and can't be solved by police alone. It requires data-driven research.

“Just as we use research to curb the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, research is needed to understand how better to address gun violence in Chicago and our country,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO of Cook County Health System.

Those on the front line of saving victims of gunfire say it's time for some common sense changes to address what they call an epidemic.

“Until then, we will continue to do what we do and treat those patients who have been needlessly injured or killed by guns,” said Dr. Bokhari.