#ThisIsMyLane: Boston Medical Community Condemns NRA's Remarks About Doctors and Gun Violence

A tweet from the National Rifle Association that suggested doctors should not share their opinions on gun violence in the country prompted swift criticism from Boston's medical community.

"We see gunshot wounds pretty much daily. This just crossed that line," said Dr. Tracey Dechert, a trauma surgeon at Boston Medical Center.

The remarks from the NRA were made in response to a recent paper from the American College of Physicians and were posted on Twitter just hours before a gunman shot and killed 12 people in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, last week. The organization wrote, "Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane."

The statement prompted tweets from surgeons all over the country, each including #ThisIsMyLane in their responses.

"Literally, they die in your hands and right in front of you," said Dechert. "That's why I think it was so hurtful, just not appropriate, to act as if this isn't what we do."

For many doctors, the issue has never been political. Given that the federal government does not fund gun violence research, their focus has primarily been on finding ways to study the issue and prevent it.

"We see these deaths, we see these injuries, we see this trauma as preventable. And we have to step up and do something about it," said Dr. Chana Sacks, a general internist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Nearly six years ago, Sacks' 7-year-old cousin was murdered in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The death prompted her to look more seriously at the gunshot injuries she and her colleagues see in patients every week. In 2015, she cofounded the MGH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition to examine the frequency of the violence and ways to reduce it.

"If any other issue were affecting people that way, we would be demanding action on a systemic level," Sacks said. "There is something so dramatically wrong with the way that we think about this problem."

NBC10 Boston contacted the NRA for comment on this story, but the organization did not respond.

Dechert hopes the response the group received from other doctors across the country sent a strong message.

"It's not really about them, it's about people who are being killed," she explained. "I'm not trying to fight with them. I am trying to save our patients."

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