Experienced N.O. medical community prepared for mass shooting

Experienced N.O. medical community prepared for mass shooting

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana has seen its share of mass shootings, from a Lafayette movie theater, to Bunny Friend Playground in New Orleans last month where 17 people were shot. And, now there is news of yet another one, this time in California.

Dr. Howard Osofsky is the chairman of psychiatry for LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. He was also recently named co-director of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Terrorism and Disaster Committee, a group that focuses on helping children and families deal with disasters, terrorism and mass violence. Osofsky said news of what happened in California could cause trauma symptoms to reappear for those who have gone through trauma in the past, like Hurricane Katrina or even neighborhood violence.

"Most of the time they are short-lived, but at the same time if they get more severe or longer or more disturbing it's important that people get help, not everybody needs help, but help is available in our community," said Osofsky.

While mental health professionals in New Orleans are available to deal with the psychological impact of a mass shooting, local hospitals are also prepared. At University Medical Center New Orleans, Dr. Peter DeBlieux, says they do drills frequently, and also have real-life experience. Twelve of the 17 victims from the Bunny Friend Playground shooting were treated at UMC,

"For Bunny Friend, 12 patients in the span of 45 minutes, with all hands on deck, and the ease to go through that is because number one, we have the trauma facility, number two, we have the personnel, and number three we drill it and do it routinely," DeBlieux said.

Your children may have questions about what happened in California, and mental health experts recommend you limit how much media coverage they see of tragic events. Experts also recommend you talk to them about what happened, let them express their feelings and concerns, and reassure them that violence like this is still rare. You can find more information about how to talk to your children here.

LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine also has a 24 hour crisis hotline. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call (504) 568-8772.

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