Philadelphia emergency room nurse discusses impact of treating gunshot victims

With the constant flow of gunshot victims into our local hospitals, it's sometimes easy to forget that the people caring for them are also parents, siblings, and members of the community. 

A Temple University Hospital nurse spoke with FOX 29's Bill Anderson to recount her experiences amid the ongoing gun violence crisis. She hopes that her experiences will inspire others to do more to Save Our Streets. 

Ruqiyya Greer, who grew up in West Philadelphia, says the recent spike in gun violence has prompted her to question her career choice because of the toll of treating shooting victims started to wear on her. 

"Hearing a mom come in and she's screaming and crying and you see massive amounts of people just falling out, crying because they loved their loved one… I mean, it's just too much to bear anymore," Greer told FOX 29's Bill Anderson.

She is a mother, daughter, and has been an ER nurse at Temple University Hospital for years. Up until recently, it was a role she cherished, but she says it's become too much for her. 

"There was a point where I didn't want to be a nurse here anymore, because I didn't want to see it anymore. I got tired of watching a Black man take his last breath and close his eyes. I got tired of seeing it, it started wearing on me mentally," Greer spoke honestly. 

As a nurse, for much of her adult life, it's not new for her to deal with the tragedy of loss, but she said the growing gun violence is different because this is just senseless death. 

"What goes through your head for you to say I'm going to go shoot somebody today," Greer questioned. 

After seeing young gun shot victims coming into the ER daily, she decided to do even more than just care for the victims. Greer decided to write an open letter to the shooters.

"And I just wrote what I would just say to that person, because it's unnecessary to take someone's life over something that could be sat down and talked about," she explained. Her open letter was published in a local newspaper and shared on social media with the hopes that someone realizes that every time they decide to settle differences with a gun, they're destroying entire communities. 

 "I'm hoping that they see their actions are not worth it. I'm hoping and praying they see that every life has a meaning to someone," Greer said. 

And perhaps, if they can take a moment and understand the permanency of their actions they may seek better alternatives. 

"Sometimes for me, I think of the reactions of the parents and the family when they come down, because you never think you're going to wake up one morning and walk down the street and that's going to be the last day you're seen here on this earth," she explained.

When asked what would you do, Ruqiyya Greer was already serving her community even in the midst of growing frustration over the gun violence epidemic.

"There's no amount of money that could pay us to watch someone take their last breath every single day. There's not enough," Greer stated passionately. "Patients are like family to us, this is another extension of my family so I can't leave them. I can't desert them."

So like so many  of us, she's asking and begging everyone to do our part to help Save Our Streets.   



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