Lou. trauma doctor shares thoughts on recent shootings; Gives look inside 'Room 9'


by Renee Murphy


Posted on January 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 13 at 6:21 AM

(LOUISVILLE, KY) -- We've heard their stories and seen their pain.

“I lost my best friend. He wasn't just my husband, he was my best friend.  I'm never going to see him smile or hold him ever again,” said Nikki Spaulding.

She was shot in the leg 2011.  Her husband was killed in the shooting at their home in West Louisville.

“He just turned around and started firing,” said Spaulding.

Spaulding was treated at University Hospital. Dr. Jason Smith  is a trauma surgeon at the hospital.

“I’m not just here to pick up the pieces after someone is shot. If that’s all I’m doing I’m just putting a band aid on a huge problem,” said Dr. Smith.

He says that from January of 2012 to September of 2012 the hospital saw 100 gunshot wound victims, many of them in this room, room 9 at University Hospital. This is where people are brought with the most serious of injuries. Fifteen percent of the people they see in their trauma unit are assaulted many were shot and for many it's not their first time being injured

“It bothers you seeing it day in and day out. Seeing people that you have seen before. Someone who is shot again or someone who's shot after they've been assaulted that bothers you,” said Dr. Smith. “You just sort of hope and pray that you can pull off another miracle. If you look nationwide the percentage of trauma that we see, if you say about 10% is average, than we are about 15%. So we are a little higher than average for penetrating trauma.”

That's partly because shootings come from a wide area to University Hospital. It's also a sign of what's happening.  Dr. Smith wants to address the problem of gun violence for personal reasons.

“I had a great aunt and uncle who were killed in a robbery in the 80's and I remember my grandmother and her family were devastated and they went through years of torture.”

“We need to do something to make things better,” said Dr. Smith. “The homicide rate is kind of the tip of the iceberg.”