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#ThisISOurLane: Gun Violence and the Role of Infectious Diseases Clinicians

A tweet from the National Rifle Association (NRA) advising “self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” has prompted physicians and healthcare workers across the country to share their experiences with gun violence, giving rise to the #ThisISOurLane campaign.

An opinion published this week in Oxford Academic’s Open Forum Infectious Diseases calls for infectious diseases physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America to join the more than 80 medical societies that have endorsed statements on gun violence, including the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American College of Cardiology.

Infectious diseases physicians are regularly called upon to manage complications such as infected wounds and osteomyelitis in gunshot victims. Yet, Infectious Diseases as a specialty has been poorly represented in the national dialogue on gun violence. We argue that gun violence does affect the Infectious Diseases community and issue a call to action to engage in the conversation, advocate for our patients, and join with other medical societies in affirming a commitment to gun violence prevention.

Ways in which infectious diseases clinicians are part of this public health emergency extend well beyond the patient’s initial treatment:

  • Victims with sensory loss are at increased risk for various infectious over their lifetime
  • Frequent use of antibiotics rises risk for multidrug-resistant infections
  • Prolonged hospitalizations increase risk for HAIs
  • Psychological impact on patient and family impact care instruction compliance

All healthcare providers have a stake in this public health crisis both professionally and personally, psychiatric nurse Laurie Barkin explained in a recent article for the SF Chronicle:

As a nurse who spent years working with trauma patients and the physicians who treated them, I witnessed the effects of gun violence up close: colostomies, brain injuries, shattered bones and paralysis, to name a few. Years after a bullet had damaged their spinal cords, some paraplegic and quadriplegic patients still regularly cycled through the hospital with bedsores and infections.

Now we’re getting into my lane: burnout, vicarious trauma, secondary stress and compassion fatigue. All of these terms reflect normal human responses of people whose work regularly exposes them to trauma: physicians, nurses, social workers, medical therapists of all kinds, first responders, public defenders, judges, psychologists, prosecutors, journalists and others.

Read the full story at Oxford Academic

ThisISOurLane - Infectious Diseases Physicians and Health Care Workers

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