While gun violence is on the rise, Seattle’s 28 slayings this year is a low total when compared to the recent high of 69 in 1994, says the Seattle Times. Some of the credit goes to doctors at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, where gunshot victims now have less than a 10 percent chance of dying if they survive the trip to the hospital. Dr. Jerry Jurkovich, the chief of trauma at Harborview, said in the past two years, doctors have seen far more gunshot wounds than they have in the past.
“Without a doubt, the biggest increase we’re seeing appears to be with interpersonal [gun] violence – someone shooting someone else because they’re mad at them,” Jurkovich said. In 2004, Harborview admitted 217 patients with serious gunshot wounds; that increased 8 percent to 235 last year. As of the end of November, doctors had treated 239 gunshot patients. During the same two years, doctors cut in half the mortality rate of gunshot victims. In 2004, a gunshot patient had a 20 percent chance of dying after making it to the hospital. That dropped to 15 percent last year before dropping to 9 percent this year. Jurkovich said much of the decline can be attributed to advances in post-surgery care.