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Improved Treatments For Gunshot Victims Saving Lives

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Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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(CBS) — If there’s some encouraging news today, it’s that one trauma surgeon CBS 2 talked to said she’s treating fewer shooting victims than two decades ago.

She tells CBS 2’s Jim Williams, she and other doctors like her, are saving more lives.

This past weekend was very busy one for Northwestern Hospital trauma surgeon Marie Crandall, but advances in medicine mean a much better outcome now.

“Back in the day, you would imagine you’d go in and try to fix everything that is wrong with them all at the same time,” said Crandall.

It was the way surgeons treated victims of multiple gunshot wounds 20 years ago.

“What we found was those long operations that addressed absolutely every injury were leading to people who were cold, they were to bleeding death,” said Crandall.

And so today, doctors prioritize surgeries.

“Stop the bleeding, stop the spillage, get someone to the ICU, give them transfusions, warm them up and come back and fight 12, 24, 48 hours later,” said Crandall.

Dr. Crandall says 20 to 40 percent more victims are alive today. A professor at Northwestern medical school, she’s done research on gun violence and tells CBS 2 trauma centers in Chicago are actually seeing fewer gunshot victims than two decades ago.

However, Crandall says “it doesn’t feel like it when you’re taking care of patients who are so ill and taking care of their families who are so damaged and traumatized.”

Doctor Crandall says medical advances are also the result of what physicians learned treating servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Crandall tells CBS 2 she was at Cook County Hospital and over the Fourth of July weekend in 1996. She says there were more than 40 gunshot victims there alone and there were more trauma centers in Chicago then.

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