Emergency room doctor reflects on trauma treatment and violence prevention in new book

Dr. Rob Gore:

Violence is a form of trauma. And trauma is any kind of injury resulting from some kind of force.

But violence itself is so different because it aims to harm, to kill, to injure. And it’s not just some sort of accidental process. And when someone inflicts a level of hurt that is – that was deliberate, it becomes – it’s almost a personal attack.

And the stress that comes from that trauma, the stress that happens in many communities that I’ve worked in, the recurring trauma, the recurring violence, that experience, creates a level of stress that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

When you’re constantly stressed — and that’s one of the things we’ve seen overseas. When you’re constantly stressed, when you’re under constant duress, and stress can take many different forms, but when you don’t have the ability to manage that, when you don’t have safety nets in place to allow you to have access to a recovery period, you are not doing well.

And looking at violence through a public health lens is really something that we really hope to change and help keep people alive. I started doing violence prevention work almost to make sure I stuck around. Homicide is the leading cause of death for Black men ages 15-34 and the second leading cause of death for Latinx men ages 15-34.

When I started doing this work, I was in that age bracket. I’m a little past that at this point. But I still see people my age who are traumatized, who suffer deliberate injuries because someone judged their life less important than theirs.