Where is the outrage … from everyone? The story behind this Temple trauma surgeons tweet. – The Philadelphia Inquirer

Since 1993, Amy Goldberg has been a trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital, which has the distinction of treating more gunshot patients than any other hospital in the state. Last year, there were 747, up from 576 the year before.

Goldberg, a native of Broomall who went to the University of Pennsylvania and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says shes treated thousands here, in rare cases those who have been shot on more than one occasion. And though Goldberg and Scott Charles, Temples trauma outreach manager, over the last 15 years have started programs to advocate for and assist victims, educate schoolchildren about gun violence, and train community members on how to provide first aid to gunshot victims, they have watched as the citys gun violence has escalated again this past year.

In the early hours of New Years Day, after two were killed and 12 injured in three separate shootings one of them near Temples campus Goldberg tweeted: Last night was an abomination in our city. Our community is dying. Where is the outrage ... from everyone?

READ MORE: 14 shot as deadly gun violence in Philly carries into the early hours of the new year

We sat down with Goldberg and Charles, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus, to talk about that tweet, her work as both a surgeon and more recently the interim dean of Temples medical school, and what she would like to see from Philadelphians in response to the violence epidemic.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Goldberg: I was just so angry, as we all should be. The number of homicides are outrageous, more than ever. I just couldnt understand. We need to be moved. Whats it going to take [for] us to be moved to do something?

Im a Broad Street runner, so I know that Temple Hospital is mile marker 2 and City Hall is mile marker 6, and within four short miles all of this violence is going on. Where was that outrage?

READ MORE: Temple's campus is on edge after a student was shot to death: Students are afraid

Goldberg: So I do have a communication team. I write my tweets and off they go. And off it went, Hope everybody has a good new year. And then I turned on the news. And I thought I cant leave that tweet out there. I called up Scott: It cant be like a tone-deaf tweet on New Years Day.

How could the trauma surgeon for 30 years in North Philadelphia put out a goddamn tone-deaf tweet?

Goldberg: Yes.

Goldberg: What I felt.

Goldberg: Some people were supportive and other people thought I was just pointing fingers and blaming people. I wasnt. I wasnt blaming police and I wasnt blaming [District Attorney Larry] Krasner. I wanted this to be a call for sustained action ... that all of us should care about whats going on.

READ MORE: Philly's homicide crisis in 2021 featured more guns, more retaliatory shootings, and a decline in arrests and convictions

Charles: Im proud of the fact that she sent that tweet, because I think there have been a lot of people standing on the sidelines. ... What shes going to succeed in doing is emboldening a lot of people.

Goldberg: Do you think any tweet, that something happens from tweets?

Goldberg: The attention to the issue shouldnt wax and wane. Its like maybe The Inquirer should keep track of what were doing every day to solve this, as we would in our units that we work in. We need to work on more gun laws that make sense. ... It just cant be so easy to get a gun.

Then the issue of poverty and structural racism in the city. All of these things need to be addressed.

READ MORE: When you enter Temple University Hospitals ER, trauma advocates will help you with more than your injuries

Goldberg: There are so many. Thousands. Its just relentless.

Goldberg: When I was a fellow, my first big case was a 16-year-old who got shot. I saw him in the clinic. He wasnt in school and then I realized that we hadnt really provided any services to help him. We just did this operation and took good care of him, got him eating and walking, but I wasnt really sure we helped him the best we could, and I kept that in my mind ... to when Scott and I met.

Goldberg: Before Christmas, three people came in all at once, 15-, 16-, 17-year-olds. One of them needed an operation. A big blood-vessel injury. The patients are younger and younger.

Charles: The thing that sets the last few years apart, since the pandemic, is how many women, how many children. You hear this from guys who are also engaged in the streets. They lament the loss of the code that used to protect women and children from gun violence.

The way the numbers spiked in 2020 is just insane. It feels like youre digging a hole in sand sometimes. Weve been doing this a very, very long time, having these same conversations.

Goldberg: And its worse. Here we are all these years later, and its now worse. Trauma surgeons know that maybe Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays are busy days, nights busier than days, and now it doesnt matter what day of the week or what time of day. It doesnt matter at all.

But we are doing so much more for the patients. Were so fortunate that now we really are providing those services to our patients that I wanted to all those years ago for that 16-year-old boy.

Goldberg: Probably a little PTSD.

Goldberg: We are going to try to develop a center within the school, a center for violence prevention intervention. We have some great programs within the medical school and the hospital. Now that I sit in the interim dean position, were going to bring these programs from both sides of the street together and be more unified.

Charles: It really does feel like a make-or-break moment.

Goldberg: Care. We could ask every person to care about this issue, to be moved by this issue, and to not think that this is OK and to speak for people who arent spoken for.


Where is the outrage ... from everyone? The story behind this Temple trauma surgeons tweet. - The Philadelphia Inquirer

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