CHICAGO (CBS) — Emergency room staffs were plenty busy in the city over the past few days because of all the shootings that had been going on, including at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, where four children recently were treated for gunshot wounds.
“You never fully remove your job when you see a lot of sadness,” said Dr. Alison Tothy, chief of emergency medicine at Comer. “We need to continuously remind ourselves that the work we do is valuable and important.”
Tothy said she tries her best to compartmentalize — to separate her work life from her non-work life. However, she said she thought a lot about the four child gunshot victims treated in the emergency room over the past three days
“It was a relief to be done with the shift. Once I removed myself from the actual grind of moving forward and moving forward and seeing patients, it was sad, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” she said.
Among the ways she and her colleagues cope with what they see is “to remind ourselves that we’re doing good here, and that even though bad things are taking place outside our walls, we have the ability to care for children, and hopefully make them better.”
Tothy said group counseling is made available when needed, and it really helps.
“It’s very important for our team to realize that they’re not in this by themselves, and that we really care as a team for our patients,” she said.
She said it has been needed at times, for instance, when a child has died or when there have been multiple child deaths in a short period.
Another way she copes is by going home to hug and kiss her two sons and her husband, and be thankful for what she has.
Tothy said shooting victims aren’t the only negative things she sees in the ER. There are also other kinds of victims of trauma, or abused children.