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Norton Children’s hosts vigil for child gunshot victims; launches child injury prevention week

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:40 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On Monday, staff at Norton Children’s Hospital lit candles for the city’s young gunshot wound victims and held a vigil. They said many of these shootings could have been prevented if someone had unloaded their gun and locked it up.

Dr. Brit Anderson, an emergency medicine physician at Norton Children’s Hospital has become familiar with the look painted on parents’ faces after their children are shot.

“This incredible mixture of what seemed to be sadness, helplessness and fear,” Anderson said.

This year, 21 children in Jefferson County have died from gunshot wounds. Another 85 have been hurt. Those numbers are up from last year’s 14 children who died from gun violence.

“It is heartbreaking for me to say and realize every day at work that we cannot guarantee the safety of our community’s children,” Anderson said.

Another accidental shooting where a child got ahold of a gun happened on Friday, when a 3-year-old boy got hold of a gun and shot himself in the chest, according to LMPD.

He is expected to survive, but he’ll likely be left with physical and emotional scars.

“There are kids in Jefferson County that are impacted by this gun play in such unfortunate ways, and they don’t have to be directly hit by a bullet,” Christopher 2X, executive director of 2X Game Changers said. “Whether that’s directly losing a family member, a family member gets wounded, stray bullets come through their houses, they hear gunfire at night... The normalcy of just living is not the same anymore.”

2X and UofL Health physicians created the Future Healers program to work on the local and federal level showing children how gun violence can negatively impact their health forever.

The group traveled to Washington D.C. to show lawmakers how severe the issue is in Louisville.

Meanwhile, Norton Children’s is urging the public to unload their guns, lock them up, and lock the ammunition up separately to avoid accidental shootings. Doctors encourage parents to ask other adults who will be around their children if they have a firearm in their home.

They added that even around teenagers, an unsecure gun can still be deadly as children that age struggle with mental health and can make rash decisions.

The healthcare system is giving away free gun locks and hosting several classes related to child injury prevention this week.

To learn more, click here.

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