Doctors in Mid-Michigan adapt to new reality of treating traumatic events

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - From global pandemics to mass shootings, doctors have become more skilled in handling traumatic events as first responders.

As an emergency physician at McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital, Dr. Tressa Gardner said healthcare workers are still recovering from COVID as mass shootings have become a new pandemic.

“Being involved in the two - the Oxford shooting and just recently the MSU – it changes my psyche going into work. You know, is today going to be another day?” Gardner said. “That is the unknown fear. So it’s now a reality that every ER doc may face on their daily shift.”

Victims of the mass shooting at Michigan State University were brought to Sparrow Hospital. Even doctors who didn’t work directly with the victims were still impacted by the tragedy.

“You can definitely tell that we work in the community around MSU and after the shooting happened I had patients who had family members who were on campus that day or who work with the MSU Police Department,” said Dr. Katy Peacock.

From one pandemic to another, Peacock - a doctor at Sparrow - uses knitting as an outlet to express emotions.

“So I certainly use art, knitting, writing, all of those kinds of outlets as a way to de-stress and to deal with the things we deal with daily,” Peacock said. “It’s almost a form of meditation for me, I think.”

Related: Free knitting, crocheting classes offered to MSU students, staff to ease anxiety

“Everybody in the hospital understands that this is our role and we prepare for it,” Gardner said. “We do drills. Now we practice active shooter and mass causalities.”

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