OSF HealthCare joins national gun safety movement to address firearms as leading cause of death in children

10/19/2022 - Rockford, Illinois

Guns are the leading cause of death for kids. Every day, 13 children die from guns. To help address this crisis and encourage parents to take action by asking about gun safety, OSF HealthCare has joined more than 170 other health care organizations representing thousands of hospitals and health systems in a nationwide public awareness and education campaign.

“It’s important for health care systems like OSF HealthCare to engage in preventive medicine,” said Kurt Bloomstrand, MD, EMS medical director for East Central Illinois EMS and an emergency medicine physician for OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, Illinois. “’The ‘Doesn’t Kill to Ask’ campaign equips parents and patients with the necessary tools and resources to help navigate difficult situations regarding guns. If we can better educate our patients on how to safely handle guns in the home, we can save lives.”

The campaign includes broadcast, print and digital ads and a website highlighting the fact that access to unlocked guns can lead to death, suicide and gun violence, making it more likely that children die from guns than cancer or automobile accidents. The website provides tips on how to have a conversation with other parents about the importance of safely storing firearms, and encourages parents and caregivers to normalize this conversation.

The increase in gun violence has impacted health care systems across the country, especially the medical professionals who treat patients affected by gun violence.

“Situations dealing with gun violence require extra resources and stress to the health care providers caring for them,” said Dr. Bloomstrand. “This is especially true when it impacts the youth of the communities we serve. Every day eight kids are shot by accident, which is eight kids too many. These are preventable deaths. We can do better in our communities to promote gun safety and training. By holding each other accountable and by asking simple questions regarding gun safety, we can save a life. It most definitely ‘Doesn’t Kill to Ask.’ ”

To learn more, visit HospitalsUnited.com.