As a wife and a mother and a human being, it’s impossible for me not to grieve for their loved ones who will never again feel the warmth of that now-cold body. Sometimes the family knew their loved one was despondent, had long struggled with mental health troubles, or had talked about having no way out.
But in many cases, the family had no inkling that this terrible thing would happen.
Doctors across specialties and across the nation were speaking up.
After all, it’s our job to take bullets out of bodies every day — if anyone’s an expert on gunshot wound injury in this country, it’s us doctors.
The document also encouraged a legislative response, such as strengthening laws that prevent domestic abusers from purchasing guns, and specifically acknowledged “that any such regulations must be consistent with the Supreme Court ruling establishing that individual ownership of firearms is a constitutional right under the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.” I am a forensic pathologist who has investigated gun deaths for my entire career.
I am the one who gets called out to the death scene at 2 am.The suicide was an impulsive act by someone who had a moment’s urge to self-destruct and easy access to a guaranteed lethal means. Cigarettes are still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, but our excess mortality rate from smoking has plummeted in the wake of legislation.Car crashes used to kill a lot more Americans before doctors, including my fellow forensic pathologists, advocated for government regulation of the auto industry, mandating the use of safety restraints and airbags. It was doctors who spearheaded this effort to limit the exposure of teenagers to tobacco — legislation that has resulted in decreased smoking rates in every state where it has been implemented.A couple of days earlier, I had pulled out two 9mm bullets from the body of a middle-aged man.The previous week, it was a 30-something, shot in the back.“One gunshot suicide and two other autopsies, probably natural.” Not a busy day, by any means.It was part of a perfectly ordinary week working as a forensic pathologist in Oakland, California.Angered, I fired back a response, shut off my phone, and began my day.By the time I performed three autopsies and got out of the morgue, my tweet had gone viral, and I wasn’t alone.If you’re having trouble getting started or staying focused, check out our video below for help and inspiration.I called into the morgue last Friday to find out what my day’s workload was going to be.