Violence during pandemic leads trauma and long road to recovery

Crime can happen anywhere. This comes as three different shootings happened in Louisville area Thursday night.
Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 7:24 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Crime can happen anywhere. This comes as three different shootings happened in Louisville area Thursday night. Those violent crimes can have an impact on those who live in these communities. University of Louisville has Community Health workers who help people on the mental and emotional road to recover.

On Thursday night, comments were posted on Facebook about a shooting that led to two men going to the hospital. A father said the shooting happened near his home. He heard gunfire and because it was continuous, he had to shelter his kids in a hallway to make sure they stayed safe.

The following day the same neighborhood was calm. Martina Rawlings is a shooting victim survivor. She was shot six times. Rawlings says she knows the trauma of a violent crime never goes away.

"I have very serious injuries, every doctor I meet tells me that,” Rawlings said. “I know I woke up and couldn't walk, couldn't move my leg. I remember when it hit my spine."

When she woke up, Kiara James, a community health worker at UofL was right there with her. James helped her recover and return to normalcy.

"We've cried a thousand times together, I remember the day she came in,” James said. “The policeman who was the first on scene, stayed with her and if he never left her side until she got here, then I felt I had to do the same."

Kiara James' role has changed a bit, while still helping trauma patients during the coronavirus pandemic. James says violence hasn't eased up. This time last year, Community Health Workers were helping 41 trauma patients. This year, they're working with 66 victims so far.

James says there have been patients who didn't make it. As safety guidlines are in place, it becomes hard on families, as they can only stand outside the hospital and get information on situations as they happen.

“You’re in a room by yourself, we're there to provide a level support and comfort and friendly face,” James said. “[The patients say] 'if she comes in here every day and do her job, then I'll be OK and [we] follow up again.'”

The Community Health Workers are equipped with PPE and follow social distancing rules when following up with patients.

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