BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Shock Trauma doctors say they see the same faces again and again. Repeat victims of violence end up in Baltimore’s emergency rooms more than once.
Dr. Carnell Cooper leads the Violence Intervention Program at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Dr. Cooper, who works at the Shock Trauma Center, asked “what could we do to keep our patients from coming back to our hospital because of another violent injury?”
Dr. Cooper says he’s trying to jam the revolving door of the 30 to 60 percent of patients that will end up back in his OR.
“If we look at violence as a disease, than we can see that it is really a healthcare, medical issue as well,” he said.
The program offers patients potentially lifestyle changes and Dr. Cooper wants to expand it to emergency rooms citywide.
A bar fight landed Arion Owens in a hospital bed in 1996.
The Violence Intervention Program made his recovery a little easier with access to housing, help finding a job and even Christmas presents for his kids.
“I was dead basically,” Owens said. “I’m doing good, but it’s hard, you know.”
Dr. Cooper says the program isn’t the magic bullet to end Baltimore’s rising body county but it’s working.
“We are saving the lives of some of our youngest and most vulnerable victims of our state,” he said.
Dr. Cooper says there’s a plan in the works to expand the program to family members of victims of violence.
The citywide Violence Prevention Program would be the first in the nation. Dr. Cooper says they’re working on getting funding for the program.