The horrible display of violence last weekend in Las Vegas was as shocking as it was tragic. Our hearts go out to the victims, loved ones and caregivers in Las Vegas. Such widespread loss of life and injury is unfathomable.
We know we are not immune from such violence here in Washington State. Every day in communities across Washington, our hospitals treat victims of violence from weapons, impaired driving, domestic abuse and more. Firearms alone cost the health care system $2.8 billion a year in ER and inpatient care. That is why we have recently convened a Community Safety Task Force, chaired by Dr. Peter Rutherford of Confluence Health. The task force will produce recommendations for legislation to prevent and address violence. The task force will also create trainings and best practices for our members to help reduce the instances of violence in our communities and in our hospitals.
We want our communities to be places where our residents are safe, and where they feel safe. The victims of violence suffer most, with survivors bearing the physical trauma and scars. But violence has a nefarious way of hurting so many others as well. It hurts friends, families and communities. It creates fear and division. The providers who care for victims are also traumatized — having to treat senseless and violent injuries is horrific.
We want to extend our gratitude to our colleagues in Nevada for their tireless efforts in working together to care for those who suffered this week. We hope our country never again encounters this degree of violence, and we hope our efforts will make a lasting impact when it comes to keeping Washington safe.
WSHA President & CEO