L.A. sees startling surge of bloodshed as COVID-19 fades

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Los Angeles police respond to a shooting scene — one of five by a single gunman on April 27 — at 7th and Figueroa streets.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police respond to a shooting scene — one of five by a single gunman on April 27 — at 7th and Figueroa streets.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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%.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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