Health care workers too feel the effects of gun violence / Public News Service

Across the country, people continue to discuss gun violence in the wake of two major mass shootings in Texas and New York.

The conversation evokes painful memories for the communities that have lived through them in the past – and a reminder that this violence hurts a wide circle of people, including medical professionals.

Lynda Pond is president of the Oregon Nurses Association and was working at a Springfield hospital when a shooter killed two people and injured 25 at a nearby school in Eugene.

“You can’t just look at the immediate impact of something,” Pond said. “You have to look at the long-term impact, not just on families but on every person whose life is affected – whether it’s a doctor, whether it’s a nurse, whether it’s a social worker, whether it’s a minister , whether it’s the psychologist caring for them 20 years later as they deal with their PTSD.”

On Sunday, US senators announced they had reached bipartisan agreement on a number of gun safety laws.

Victims of the 1998 shooting at Thurston High School were brought to Pond Hospital. She spoke in Washington DC last Friday at a media event ahead of weekend March for Our Lives rallies across the country.

Pond was on duty again in 2015 when another shooter killed nine people at a community college in Roseburg. Several of the victims were transferred to his hospital.

She said she knows people who have been personally affected by gun violence, particularly during the Springfield incident, and feel the anguish whenever a shooting occurs.

“A lot of people who are victims of these traumas can’t be activists because the pain is too deep,” Pond said. “It’s all too real. So it becomes the responsibility of those of us who saw it, who weren’t immediately affected, to bring forward our experiences and experiences and share the stories.”

Pond said she hopes lawmakers can put aside their differences to ensure gun violence does not claim more victims.

“It shouldn’t be a political issue,” Pond said. “It’s a humanitarian issue.”

Disclosure: The Oregon Nurses Association (AFT Local 5905) contributes to our fund for reporting on policy and budget priorities, health issues, living wages/working families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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