Colorado trauma surgeon says 'this is our lane' after NRA tweet creates firestorm

Posted at 6:03 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 20:48:40-05

DENVER -- A tweet by NRA telling "self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane" has created a firestorm in the medical community.

Doctors and trauma surgeons from across the country fired back on Twitter, using the hashtag #thisisourlane to share personal stories and blood-splattered photos. The posts were shared tens of thousands of times.

One of the trauma surgeons who fired back was Denver Health Dr. Jamie Coleman.

Dr. Coleman said she has spent her entire career trying to save shooting victims and finds the notion she should keep quiet infuriating. Especially, since she said it's her job to treat and prevent injury.

"Injury prevention — regardless of mechanism — is our job. The best outcome for an injury is the injury that never happens," said Dr. Coleman.

What started the heated debate was this position paper recently published from the American College of Physicians. The doctors called gun violence a public health crisis and recommended a ban on semi-automatic weapons which prompted the tweet from the NRA.

The NRA called into question the research cited in the paper, writing in a blog post: "This position paper leaves one wondering if the authors reviewed the evidence, or just found works that suited their needs."

"As physicians and surgeons, this is a health problem. Pure and simple. We are anti-bullet hole," said Dr. Coleman.

"I can certainly sympathize with the NRA for saying 'hey, stick to your own lane'," said former firearms instructor and editor of the Second Amendment Foundation magazine, Dave Workman.

Workman thinks firearm instructors, not doctors, know about gun safety.

"I wouldn't go into a gun range to get a tonsillectomy," he said.

For Dr. Coleman, she said this is about finding common ground and using research and science to make America safer.

"I think pretty much any American can agree right now that the way that things are right now in our country is not ok, and that's got to be our common ground," she said. "The momentum, among the medical community, is to move the needle forward to make some progress to get off the hamster wheel."

"It's really unfortunate because we are all supposed to be on the same side of saving lives," said Workman.