Gunfire Begets Trauma, Mixed Emotions, Social Worker Says

Steve Miller
June 23, 2020 - 4:53 pm

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- “Managed chaos” is how Andy Wheeler describes it: the weekends at Stroger Hospital as the wounded are brought in.

Wheeler is a clinical social worker who deals with trauma victims.

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“A lot of people would assume that when you ask them how they’re doing they’d say, ‘I’m just so devastated. Now, I have maybe a potentially lifelong chronic condition because of being shot.’

“And a lot of times what you’ll actually hear from a patient is, actually, they’re just so grateful to be alive. They’re grateful to have a new appreciation for their life, for their family.

“Or, a lot of our patients will say, ‘This isn’t even the worst thing that happened to me.  The worst thing that happened to me was when I lost my brother who was killed a couple years ago, and I need to stay alive for him.’”

Wheeler said it’s not just the gunshot victims who are affected. It’s whole communities who have now seen “generations of trauma.”