MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ: Another
important national leader with us is Dr. Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd is
a trauma surgeon. He’s the medical director of
trauma at St. Francis Hospital. He is a leader not only in LA
County, but in the country. And a visionary in terms of
leveraging the work, the focus on not only saving lives
but preventing that from moving forward by
connecting with others in the Department
of Public Health, connecting with others
in the hospital, and connecting with other
hospitals to join forces. Connecting to help
to make a difference and recognize that we
can prevent violence. And we can do something
about it beyond just taking out the bullets
and saving the lives. And so Dr. Shepherd has
been there in the trenches, continues to be there. We are thankful and
honored to have him here in these times
that are challenging. And still there, able
to help to give us the impressions, and some
wisdom, and some insight that will help to take us to the
next phase of this program. So please help me
welcome Dr. Shepherd. [APPLAUSE] TCHAKA SHEPHERD: Can
you guys hear me? OK. Good evening. It’s certainly a pleasure
to be here tonight. To have the opportunity to
talk a little bit about some of the things that I do
and some of the things that I’ve seen
treating gun violence. I’ll leave some of the
conversation for the panel discussion. I have to be honest, I’m in a
bit of professional discomfort or discourse. Dr. Protheroe did
mention her experience. Fernando was mentioning
that currently we’re seeing an up spike in the
violence in the communities that I serve. And it is leaving me in a
state where the worst probably won’t come easy tonight. So for that I apologize. It is difficult and challenging
to talk about this issue and realize that it is
the public health issue. It is an issue that is
a racial issue, a class issue, a mental health issue. And we have been discussing
this issue for years. And it seems that we continue to
stall in terms of our progress. The process for me began
probably about 15 years ago. I finished my residency and
my fellowship in Baltimore. And I came here to sort
of work in the community and see if I could give back. And at that time
my focus was simply on treating the individuals
and saving lives. And I thought that that
was my sole responsibility. I would come to an
underprivileged community and save lives. And that was my
way of giving back. But time, after
time, after time we would have patients
who would arrive– can you hear me? AUDIENCE: Not 100%. Move back a little [INAUDIBLE]. TCHAKA SHEPHERD: How about now? Can you guys hear me? Perfect, OK. So I was saying
time, after time, after time I was experiencing
some very difficult conversations with families. A lot of people ask often, what
is the most difficult thing about being a trauma surgeon? Is it the operations? Is it seeing the blood? It’s not. It’s that two to
five minute walk from either the ER
or the operating room to talk with the family. And tell them that they’ve
lost a loved one, usually to senseless violence. And that’s the hardest
conversation to have. And for me it began,
as I said 15 years ago. There was a young man who
presented actually a Mother’s Day, which is unfortunate. Any day’s unfortunate,
but Mother’s Day obviously a little bit more. He was a victim of
assault, rifle fire. Was hit by an AK 47. Arrived at what we call
a traumatic full arrest. It means he had no vital
signs upon arrival. He underwent a ED thoracotomy. We were unable to salvage him. He had a hole the size of a
golf ball in his left ventricle. And essentially bled his entire
volume into his right chest. As we sat there
sewing up this man, we were told that his
family had arrived and it was time to sort
of have our conversations with the family. And as I walked out to
talk with the mother, she could see on my face what
the conversation would be. And it was clear that she
had experienced this before. Even before I could tell
her what happened to her son she dropped to her knees and
she let out this curdling scream that can pierce your soul. And as she turned around on her
back it said, in memory of– and it had another son’s name. And I came to find
out that she lost three sons to gang violence
in a period of three years. And so that began the
quest at St. Francis to try to prevent those
lives from hitting our doors. I wanted to prevent
many of my colleagues from having that conversation. I appreciate the work that
Dr. Protheroe’s staff has done and certainly Fernando. They did an excellent
job of framing the national and the
local conversations and some of the things that
I was going to say tonight. So I decided to sort
of alter a little bit of what is going to talk about. I’m probably going
to end it there. I’m going to save some of the
conversation for the panel. And I appreciate everybody
coming out tonight. I think that I’m going to
need a little bit of help from you guys. I’m going to need a little
bit of hope from you guys. Because we’re hitting
some troubling times. We anticipate a significant
surge this summer. And I need a little
bit of positive energy and a little bit of hope. So let’s have a
pleasant conversation. Let’s strip it down. Let’s talk about
some of these things are holding back the development
and the success of America. And let’s have that
uncomfortable conversation tonight. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]