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Behind the Trauma: A look at how violence affects hospitals

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Trauma surgeons say the more violence, the more they have to make changes at Froedtert Hospital. But they’re not stopping there. They’re making partnerships to become part of the solution.

“No one really plans on being involved in a motor vehicle crash or being hit by a car while they’re walking, or being shot,” says Dr. Annette Bennett.

Doctors in the Adult Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital never know what kind of patients are going to come through the doors.

“It saddens me to have to take care of victims of violent crime at the same time that’s the reason I went into trauma surgery,” says Dr. David Milia.

Trauma center doctors say the hospital sees about 2,000-3,000 patients per year.  Twenty percent of those victims are involved in violent crime, an increase in the past two years that forced Froedtert to adjust.

“It’s drained our resources so we have added additional trauma surgeons to our faculty, more nurse practitioners to our staff,” says Dr. Bennett.

Working in partnership with the City’s Office of Violence Prevention, both Dr. Bennett and Dr. Milia say they’re not just treating patients, but trying to be part of the solution.

“I think the recognition that violence is a problem, not just a problem, but a disease is important and like any disease, violence and trauma is complex and it needs to be treated as a multi-faceted approach,” says Dr. Milia.

“We are trying to figure out what is the driver of the violence and different ways we can create an intercept with that,” Dr. Bennett tells CBS 58.  

The trauma team has been working closely with faith and community leaders and the Office of Violence Prevention to better understand and address the source of conflict violence.

“These are people that may not wake up in the same type of community that you and I wake up in but they are human beings, patients looking to get the best care possible,” said Dr. Milia. “Fortunately, I have the opportunity and the honor to take care of those patients.”

Both doctors say preventing more victims from coming through the doors is everybody’s responsibility.

“Milwaukee is a tight knit community. What affects any one area of Milwaukee affects all of Milwaukee and I believe focusing our efforts to reduce violence everywhere, everybody in Milwaukee is going to have an improved quality of life,” said Dr. Milia.

Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention sent CBS 58 the following statement:

“Hospital systems are critical partners in this effort. The forthcoming Blueprint for Peace calls for the expansion of hospital-based violence prevention strategies. We are working to build a violence prevention system in Milwaukee that involves partners from every sector of our community to stop this preventable epidemic.”


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