Joseph Sakran is a trauma surgeon. The journey to arrive at such an elite position in life came after Joe was shot in the neck. He was thisclose from losing his life. The pilot called to medivac the bleeding teenager to a trauma center had to turn him down because helicopter transport requires that the injured person lay down flat on a stretcher. When Joe tried to lay down, the bleeding in his windpipe caused him to choke. So an ambulance that allowed him to sit up took him from the scene to a hospital. Joe underwent surgery to repair the wounded windpipe. In addition to his trachea, he had to undergo another major surgery so that a neurosurgeon could repair the main blood vessel that takes blood to one's brain by grafting a vein from another part of his body. In addition to all of that, Joe had to undergo a number of surgeries due to scar tissue and basically had to relearn via rehab what we all take for granted, even how to eat.
After such an ordeal, Joe's father pointed out to his son that he had a second chance at life and rather than wallow in self-pity, he should do something that would make a difference in the lives of others. So Joe Sakran worked and worked and worked to become a trauma surgeon, learning how with the help of the doctors who had saved his life to do the same for his fellow man.
The hardest part of Joe's career is having to tell parents that their boy or girl has been shot. That's why Joe reacted to an inane tweet generated by the NRA upset with articles in the Annals of Internal Medicine advocating doctors to pressure legislators to adopt gun controls. The NRA upset with such a display of opinion noted that "someone should tell these self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane." In response, Dr. Sakran created a twitter account @ThisIsOurLane encouraging medical professionals to share their experiences treating victims of gun violence.
Not only does Joe Sakran know firsthand the debilitating effects of gun violence as one whose windpipe was shattered by a .38-caliber bullet that almost killed him -- but also as a medical professional who has treated hundreds of gun wound victims, comforted anxious loved ones and told mothers and fathers that their children would not be coming home.
At one time the NRA served a purpose of promoting gun safety and common sense gun laws before it became a lobbying monolith controlling Congressional legislators from even reviewing the statistical data about the effects of gun violence and instituting universal background checks over all 50 states.
A tragedy lead to the making of a good man who committed himself to learning the intricate skills required to become a surgeon aiding those inflicted with gun shot wounds and saving lives. Perhaps it is the NRA that should get back to staying in their own lane and doing what they once were good at - promoting gun safety in coordination with practical common sense laws when it comes to the right to bear arms. With that right comes great responsibility and it would appear if anyone has been lax about the impact of guns, it's not the doctors who must clean up the mess - it's the NRA. My "cold dead hands" is a slogan popularized by the National Rifle Association that can often be seen on bumper stickers - but those bumper stickers don't bleed - just the human beings who people like Dr. Joe Safran must deal with and GO DO GOOD on a daily basis in an effort to do that which is NOBLE - saving lives.
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