Nightly News | August 19, 2013
>>> city of chicago is coming off yet another awful weekend under deadly fire. six people were killed, and 28 others, including a 7-year-old boy, were injured in gunfire across the city. at last count, there have been 249 murders in chicago so far this year, down from last year, but still a serious problem. and it's being felt beyond the city limits . tonight, we take our cameras to the front lines, a hospital e.r. where the doctors and other caregivers are making a difference between life and death for some of the victims of violence. nbc's john yang has our report.
>> 1205 . how do you copy?
>> 38-year-old male, stabbing.
>> room one.
>> reporter: saturday night at advocate christ medical center 's e.r. in suburban oak lawn , seven trauma cases in two hours. most involve violence on chicago's south side . two shootings, a stabbing and an assault.
>> put the tourniquet on him. just relax.
>> reporter: dr. james doherty is head of the trauma department on hour 13 of a 24-hour shift. he is worried about a teenager who was shot in the head.
>> the bullet fragment is still in there?
>> the bullet fragment is gone. i don't see the bullet fragment at all. i think what happened is it came in and hit, cracked the skull and then probably bounced out.
>> reporter: the number of doas here has quadrupled in three years, but if they reach the doors alive, the survival rate is 97%.
>> got a lot of injuries.
>> when you do something a lot, you get good at it.
>> reporter: but it's getting harder.
>> he is still pouring stuff out of there.
>> it's amazing. throw the kitchen sink at him and see what happens.
>> reporter: trauma surgeon ellen olney is caring for 45 patients, including one from neighboring indiana, with 28 bullet wounds.
>> we definitely see more people covered in bullets. i mean, 28? i would have to say that's as close to the highest i have seen, but i think 32 was the highest that i saw. and it's really chance to what it hits or what it doesn't hit.
>> reporter: last year, the staff saw nearly 1100 gunshot and stabbing victims.
>> strong teamwork and we will get through it, okay? have a good night, guys.
>> reporter: every night, they witness the changing nature of the violence.
>> there's no rules anymore it seems like, with the pattern of violence. it's just random 5-year-olds getting shot. that really hits you hard.
>> reporter: for some on the staff, it's been life changing.
>> it's unforgettable, what i have seen in this e.r.
>> reporter: medical technician lawana hudson grew up on chicago's south side and raised two sons there.
>> when i wake up in the morning, i just thank god i have waken up and nothing has happened to me or my loved ones.
>> reporter: cherishing life as they save