Preventable traumas are the hardest for us to see as pediatric ICU nurses. Gunshot wounds, permanent disabilities and deaths from senseless violence, child abuse because of a broken system letting cases fall through the cracks, car accidents from DUIs resulting in kids being the innocent victims. I have come face to face with all of these cases, weeping and wishing I could turn back the clock and do more than bandage their wounds now, and I’ve looked their grieving loved ones in the eyes as they ask WHY. Why our child? One of the worst true answers to give to that impossible question is, “It was someone else’s mistake that landed your loved one here.”
My heart goes out to everyone at Saugus High School. I hurt for the victims. I hurt for their classmates and teachers and families. I hurt for the shooter and his family. I hurt for the school nurse and the medical team who treated the victims in that call we never want to get as medical professionals. I hurt for everyone resigned at their TVs as we ask yet again, “Another one??” I hurt for the day that I feel is inevitable when my PICU will get the call, “Mass casualty traumas coming in. The day has come.” I hurt for my children who feel their Mama’s tension lying beneath the surface but don’t know why. We are all hurting as a society when we see this.
Please, please do your part to prevent what you can. Holidays are coming – don’t drive under the influence. If you see something suspicious, say something. If you are struggling as a parent or see someone else struggling to get your anger under control, give a big middle finger to the voice of shame and get help before the kids bear the literal brunt of your blows. Don’t shirk carseat safety. Get yourself and your children vaccinated. You may hold more influence over the lives of others than you realize.