At Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Brant Putnam has watched the intense weight of the COVID-19 pandemic finally begin to lift in recent months — only to be replaced by another, relentless stressor.
In the first four months of 2021, gunshot victims have arrived at a much greater rate than usual.
The Level 1 trauma center in Torrance treats about 3,500 patients a year; an average of 15% experience “penetrating trauma” such as a shooting or stabbing, said Putnam, chief of the trauma and acute care surgery division.
So far this year, the figure stands at 19%, he said. From Jan. 1 to April 27, the hospital treated 142 shooting victims, compared with 76 during the same period last year — an increase of nearly 87%.
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