Riley trauma surgeon raising awareness of the ‘unsettling’ rise of young victims with gunshot wounds


INDIANAPOLIS — So far this year, at least 355 people have been shot in the city yet survived. Sadly, 117 people have been killed in 2021. Trauma surgeons at Riley Children’s Hospital are raising awareness about the number of kids they are treating with gunshot wounds.

Dr. Matt Landman said the hospitals surgeons and staff have treated nearly as many young patients suffering violence-related injuries in 2021 as they did in all of 2020.

“These are patients that, if there’s a great save, take you from the highest of highs but sadly patients who die, take you to the lowest of lows,” Landman said.

Landman speaks frankly about the troubling number of young people his team is treating. According to Riley’s data, they’ve treated 20 patients so far with violence-related wounds. They cared for 27 people in all of 2020.

Tragically, two people died from violence at Riley Children’s last year. This year, six youth have already died.

“The spike in 2021 is the most pronounced, and I would say it’s the most unsettling of all the data that we see in the patient population that we serve,” Landman said.

Before many patients get to Riley, IU Methodist or Eskenazi Health, first responders, like IMPD and IEMS, are providing immediate care.

“What concerns us is the sustainability throughout the year and the number of shootings we’ve been caring for throughout the year, it’s only June,” Dr. Dan O’Donnell, Chief of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, said.

Landman urges everyone to ensure all firearms are stored safely and securely. He hopes the community remembers patients like theirs when talking about violence.

“The lasting impact on a child for injury like this is almost indescribable,” Landman said. “It gets to their need for mental health long term.”

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