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Shooting Hits Home for Nashville Doctors

Two physicians with close personal ties to the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee where Monday's shooting took place, are expressing their frustrations and calling for more action on gun violence, MedPage Today reports.

Britney Grayson, MD, PhD, a pediatric surgeon, had left the school less than 20 minutes before shots rang out, and Ryan Mire, MD, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP), practices primary care about 10 minutes away from the school where six people were killed, including three children.

Grayson said in a Facebook post written 4 hours after the shooting that she had been asked by a friend to speak to students about her work in Kenya. She left the school at 10:12 a.m., she wrote in her post, "and less than 20 minutes later, at least three children were shot right there on the campus."

"There are no words for this feeling. I think the normal feeling is supposed to be a relief -- relief that we were already gone and our lives are safe. But to do what I do makes me literally one of the most qualified people on the planet to help in that situation. Why had we driven away just minutes before? Could I have helped those children if we were still there? I feel guilty for being safe," she wrote.

"But furthermore, why are our children being massacred in their schools?!" Grayson wrote. "I have no idea when this country will have had enough and I'm utterly, completely, totally shocked that, as a nation, we aren't there yet."

Mire echoed those sentiments, posting that there is "no place right now in the United States that is considered safe."

"We've had mass shootings in every setting, from places of worship to schools to grocery stores to medical office buildings and hospitals to movie theaters," Mire said. "There's just no place that's deemed to be safe."

Mire was in clinic at the Nashville independent group practice where he's been working for 21 years when he learned about the shooting. He said a lot of his patients have ties to the school, whether they were parents or grandparents of children who attended school there, or were employees at the school.

"My heart sank," Mire told MedPage Today. "It's hard to hear that it happened at any school, but when it's so close to home, in your own community, it's just devastating."

Mire said ACP plans to continue advocating for firearm reform legislation, including initiatives to close loopholes and ban assault-style weapons.

"This is definitely in our lane as physicians because firearm injury and death is a public health crisis," he said, "but our legislators have to step up and make a difference for the sake of society... We can improve our safety if we had tighter, more restrictive, and stronger laws on firearms."

Mire said that even though ACP has been advocating for firearm reform "for nearly 30 years now, we have not really seen it take place."

"Last year, we had a glimmer of hope with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that was passed in June 2022," Mire said. "It was a start, but it has not gone far enough because we continue to have mass shootings."

"As president of the American College of Physicians, I have spent too much time with press releases on mass shootings, and we have so many bigger issues in healthcare that we need to fight," Mire said. "But we've had to divert our efforts to deal with something that can be preventable, and that is very frustrating."

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