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Trauma surgeon studies gun violence stats — and was one

Personal experience drives Joseph Sakran to try to affect U.S. policy on firearms

By
12:00pm, October 31, 2017
hands holding a gun

GUN WOUND BURDEN  A new study estimates there were roughly 25 visits to the emergency department for gun-related injuries per 100,000 people from 2006 to 2014.

Joseph Sakran knows more about the horrific impact of firearm-related injuries than the average trauma surgeon. A bullet nearly killed him 23 years ago. He was 17. At his high school’s season-opening football game, a fight broke out and someone fired into the crowd.

“A .38-caliber bullet ripped through my throat and ended up in my shoulder,” he says. He had multiple surgeries and spent six months with a breathing tube in his windpipe. His recovery kept him home for most of his senior year. He still has a paralyzed vocal cord, which leaves his voice raspy at times.

The experience inspired Sakran to become a surgeon, and it compelled him to work at the intersection of medicine, public health and public policy. His goal: “to reduce gun violence in our communities across this country.”

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