Every day on his way to work, Dr. Bernard Klein, MD, drives by the scene of a 2018 shooting that left 13 dead.
Then, just a few days after the first anniversary of that tragedy, Klein, chief executive of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, arrived at work to learn two teen-age girls, shot by a schoolmate at Saugus High School, had been rushed to his trauma center where surgeons helped save their lives.
The Nov. 13 shooting resulted in three deaths.
Klein, a father of three, was inspired to take action. He is now leading a gun safety and education effort across Providence’s 10-hospital, three-county Southern California Region.
Klein has written materials, printed in English and Spanish, that are being placed beginning this week in hospital emergency departments and at affiliated physician offices with the goal of alerting parents to the grim statistics that result from failing to secure guns.
“It’s a matter of common sense safety. The vast majority of victims of accidental shootings are children who find guns in their homes,” the doctor said.
“I don’t oppose gun ownership. I oppose senseless gun violence.”
At a recent Providence regional executive meeting where Klein shared his ideas, a two-pronged plan was approved for the area, which covers Los Angeles and Orange counties and Victor Valley in the High Desert.
Aside from distributing brochures, Providence will seek grants to step up involvement in a program called Stop the Bleed that trains communities how to stem blood loss in the injured until first responders arrive.
Klein has researched the statistics, and shares them in his brochure. He’s troubled by the numbers of children who die in accidental shootings. Safety, he said, goes beyond preventing accidental shootings to restricting guns from teens and those with behavioral health problems who may contemplate suicide or even mass violence.
His hope is that people will realize the risks and take action to ensure firearms are secured.
“This is a crisis and one that organizations should respond to immediately by declaring the need for policy at the state and federal levels, spurring community intervention by engaging local law enforcement, gangs, clergy and other community members to meet and work together to reduce violence,” Klein said.