Trump’s ridiculous remarks at the NRA meeting about London hospitals swimming in blood from knife crime (covered by Anellis here) have been causing great annoyance in the UK. In his ignorance, what Trump did not know is that the NHS system in London has made great strides in co-ordinating emergency treatment. All the trauma units are co-ordinated, led by Professor Karim Brohi who is also a trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital. He has issued a statement slamming Trump’s remarks.
First a little background that informs Trump’s remarks. There has been an increase in knife crime in London including a worrying rise in murders of young people in the first months of the year. Carrying any knife in the street without good reason and to use as a weapon is a crime punishable by imprisonment. Obviously people carrying back kitchen tools from the shops, those with fishing knives in tackle boxes or chefs going to work would not be liable. It is the intent that is the determining factor. Shops cannot sell knives to anyone under 18 but obviously they are available readily elsewhere.
Young people are increasingly carrying bladed weapons. I put it that way as I can remember as a schoolboy some 50 years ago, it was almost a requirement to carry a penknife to sharpen pencils… and not to carve your name on the desks. (The pupils in the Combined Cadet Force used to prance around with guns too,) Today young people are carrying knives out of fear that others will attack them with knives. Sound familiar? Yes exactly the same argument used in the US to justify the carrying of guns.
Trump’s remarks appear to be based on an article appearing in the Daily Mail after a discussion of the rise in young people’s murder I mentioned being discussed on BBC Radio 4 with Martin Griffiths.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today, the leading surgeon said: ‘We used to look after people in their 20s now we look after people in their mid to late teens and children, children in school uniforms are being admitted under our care with knife and gun wounds.
‘We routinely have children under our care – 13, 14 15-year-olds are daily occurrences.
‘About a quarter of what we see in our practice is knife and gun injury and now we are doing major life-saving cases on a daily basis.
‘Some of my military colleagues have described the practice here as similar to being at Bastion, which is a very worrying comment to hear.’
What was Trump’s translation of that?
“I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds,” he said on Friday.
“They don’t have guns. They have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital.
“They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives, knives.” He mimed a stabbing motion.
Yes, his own fear of blood is being projected onto an image of the hospital he created in his own mind. Anyone arriving in hospital would have had major bleeds at least stabilized by paramedics or doctors at the scene. That applies to vehicle accident victims equally as knife victims. It also applies to the main hospital used by the British in Afghanistan at Camp Bastion! In operations, blood is swabbed up if only to assess the amount lost that the patient needs to have replaced. The idea of “blood all over the floors” is pure Trumpian fantasy.
The Daily Mail correctly identifies Mr Griffiths (I presume he is a consultant who would have that title rather than Dr) as working at the Royal London Hospital in the body of the article but the headline refers to him working for Barts NHS Trust. This is a group of hospitals also including St Bartholomew’s Hospital, always called “Barts”. So it is a bit unclear which “once very presitigeous hospital” Trump thought he was referring to. Here then is the statement by Prof. Brohi issued by Barts NHS Trust.
“Knife violence is a serious issue for London. We are proud of the excellent trauma care we provide and of our violence reduction programmes. The Royal London Hospital has cut the number of our young patients returning after further knife attacks from 45% to 1%.
“There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair. We are proud of our world-leading service and to serve the people of London.”
And here is the point. People may be killed or severely wounded but the overwhelming majority of knifing victims arrive in hospital to be treated. Some may have life-changing injury but they survive. They do not bleed out on the streets.
Martin Griffiths has also been hitting Twitter.
Happy to invite Mr Trump to my (prestigious) hospital to meet with our mayor and police commissioner to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London @SadiqKhan @metpoliceuk @NHSBartsHealth #WindrushAwards pic.twitter.com/G4vYqTkfbL
— Martin P Griffiths (@martinpgriff) May 5, 2018
Mr. Griffiths was interviewed originally because of his involvement in violence-reduction campaigning. He is being nominated for a “Windrush 70” Award.
Windrush 70 will celebrate the contributions and diversity of BME people to the NHS, from the Windrush generation of 1948, the south Asian arrivals in the 1960s and 70s, to today’s workforce, currently represented by 202 nationalities.
Nominations are open to current or former NHS employees, who have made an exceptional contribution to the health service through roles including research and development, in nursing, as a medic or as a BME leader.
So you can put names to faces, which for some reason I think may upset Trump.
— Martin P Griffiths (@martinpgriff) April 26, 2018
Could not get the photo of Prof. Brohi but his profile on his Queen Mary (Univerity) College site includes one:
Professor Brohi founded the trauma.org web site and the ‘Trauma-list’ international discussion group in 1995 to provide free, open access trauma education and information to doctors and other healthcare providers around the world, and to provide a community forum for consultations and advice on patient care and current practice. TRAUMA.ORG was one of the first medical web sites on the Internet and is currently the largest and most active specialty medical web site, providing a continuous international forum for the discussion of trauma care issues and for global trauma consultation….
Karim Brohi is Head of the LondonTIER, Professor of Trauma Sciences in the Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry, and Consultant Trauma & Vascular Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust. He is also director of the North East London & Essex Trauma Network.