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Nonfatal Mass Shooting Injuries Can Have Long-Term Effects, Study Says

A study found that people who have nonfatal mass shooting injuries can face long-term physical and mental health consequences, and those people often outnumber those killed in mass shootings, reports The Journalist’s Resource. The study, in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, included 13 mass shootings between 2012 and 2019. “The point we make is that [mass shootings have] a huge impact on the patient, on health care resources, on public health. … The families of the survivors have their whole lives changed,” said Dr. Mark Langdorf, the study’s senior author and a professor of clinical emergency medicine. The authors called for a national registry to track nonfatal mass shooting injuries.

The study found that 37% of mass shooting injuries didn’t involve bullet wounds. “The majority of mass shootings involve [semi-automatic] rifles, and those injuries are orders of magnitude worse from a perspective of how much energy is delivered to the victim,” Langdorf said. “These are horrific injuries,” he added. “People might be functional on the surface a year later, but some of them are still being tended to for their original injuries.” In total, 50 patients had one or more psychiatric diagnoses, including anxiety or panic, acute stress disorder, major depressive disorder or symptoms, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The authors also recommend community mental health resources and psychological interventions, such as Psychological First Aid, which is designed to promote safety and stabilize the survivors of disasters.


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