NORFOLK, Va. - Sentara Norfolk General Hospital has seen and treated more than 90 gunshot wound victims this year, and it's only March. This does not count the other gunshot wound victims at other Sentara hospitals in Hampton Roads.
Last year, SNGH saw more than 530 victims, and in 2020, there were 466.
Demonte from Portsmouth was one of them. He was shot five times in Chesapeake in October 2020.
"I was walking my dog, and then I got pistol-whipped, a fight started and I was shot 5 times," said Demonte.
Those five gunshots left him with major nerve damage and in a wheelchair.
"I know I will walk again," said Demonte.
Demonte says his positive attitude comes from the team at Foresight, a hospital-based violence intervention program within Sentara Healthcare.
"The idea of this is to meet them at their lowest time when they are coming in the trauma bay and assist them in changing their attitude and lifestyle that led them to becoming a victim if it did at that time," said Foresight Team Coordinator Stephen Williams.
Sadly, they have seen 1,000 victims of violence since the program started in April 2020, but the shocking number speaks to the need to break the cycle.
"We are trying to take a holistic approach, address safety issues immediately, then shift into the role of mental health services," said Williams.
The program addresses the trauma for the victims and their families after the wound heals.
"Some of the main things we do: Address safety issues, employment, housing needs and transportation," said Williams.
Something Demonte can attest to.
"They help me get my own apartment, make sure I get to my appointments, and I have everything I need," said Demonte.
Breaking patterns of trauma, addressing root causes of violence in their communities with the goal of making sure they don't land in a trauma bay again.
"Without their help and leadership, I wouldn't be able to do the stuff I am doing right now," said Demonte.
Most patients are in Foresight for a year before they graduate.