INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – “You have this incredible responsibility that you’re taking care of the next big thing,” said Dr. Brian Wagers at IU Health Riley Hospital for Children. He an assistant professor in clinical emergency medicine in pediatrics and physician director for quality and safety at Riley.
ER staff at Riley Hospital have an important job. Some injuries can take a toll on doctors.
”We’re humans, and when you see a child come in who’s a victim of a gunshot wound, it pulls at your heartstrings just like every child does,” said Wagers.
In 2019, doctors treated 41 children who were gunshot victims. That’s about a 10 percent increase over the last couple of years. In 2018, there were 36 patients, 30 In 2017.
The death of one-year-old Malaysia Robson in 2018 hit the Indianapolis community hard. Malaysia was killed in a drive-by shooting in the early morning hours of March 29.
There have also been those unintentional shootings involving kids.
In September 2019, two girls, ages 2 and 5, were injured in an accidental shooting after their parent reportedly left a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in a closet.
”It builds up after a while when you see child after child, whether it be from a gunshot wound or some other injury or illness. It starts to get to you after a while,” said Wager.
ER staff has a variety of resources to help them cope, including hospital chaplains
”If there’s been a particularly bad outcome or a bad event that has affected the team, then the chaplains will come and support and will offer whatever type of counseling and help they can,” said Wager.
For the last couple of years, Pamela Soriano, a second year pediatric ER fellow at Riley, has been working with a care team to analyze each patient’s case.
”We have a post event debriefing where everybody who participated in the care team comes together and takes a 10 minute pause so we can reflect and talk about what happened. We can talk about what went well and what we could’ve done better, so by the next time we see the next sick child, we are mentally and emotionally prepared to help,” said Soriano.
Soriano says it’s just one thing to help deal with high stress situations.