The untold story of gun violence - life-altering injuries

Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:40am EDT
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By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Miles Turner V, 18, was shot at least five times on a Chicago sidewalk last October. Doctors believed he might die, but he survived.

The high school football player, who had never been in any trouble, is now undergoing physical therapy, in hopes of being able to walk again.

"His life has changed dramatically from what it was," said his father, Miles Turner IV. "It's not easy."

Young Miles represents a largely untold side of the gun violence story. It's about the survivors who must live with costly and often permanently debilitating injuries.

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a group of national hospital databases, in 2009 showed 76,100 emergency room visits for gunshot wounds, about half of which involved assault. That same year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control logged 11,493 firearm homicides - less than a third of the number of assault injuries.

One notable example of a gunshot survivor whose life was permanently changed is former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a public appearance in 2011. She retired from Congress to focus on a lengthy recovery.

"Just looking at the number of deaths misses the enormity of the problem of street shootings," said David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, who would like to see more research done on non-fatal gunshot injuries. "Until you can quantify the enormity of the problem, you can't figure out what interventions work and don't work."


Miles Turner is helped up the stairs to his home by his mother Angela and his father Miles in Chicago, Illinois, June 9, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)