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Regional Medical Pros Update Gang Member Treatment Protocol


The New Hanover Regional Medical Center may be heightening security measures to more safely treat victims of violent gang activity. Over the weekend, Wilmington’s annual Trauma, Emergency and Acute Care Symposium touched down at the convention center. For the first time in the symposium’s 25-year history, North Carolina gang investigators were on hand to caution area medical professionals about treating gang members.

Southeastern North Carolina’s gang members are likely to wear clothing, jewelry and tattoos featuring red and blue, gold and yellow, pitchfork and star symbols, and the numbers five and six. This is according to Jon Paul Guarino, a project manager for North Carolina Gang Net. He says these patients need to be treated with an extra level of security.

"Usually when a gang member comes into a trauma facility, what follows is their friends, their gang members, who are wanting to check up on that person. A lot of times it can become very heated between staff and gang members, and officers in the hospital and the gang members."

Michelle Guarino, crisis unit supervisor for the Chapel Hill Police Department, adds that gang recognition could help hospitals prevent future violence.

"If a person came in for a trauma and the doctor, nurse or social worker happened to notice there were multiple cuts or wounds on their body to signify that they’re a cutter, that would signify that there’s something deeper-rooted that’s going on, and the same goes for a gang individual. Someone that has a brand, someone that has a gang tattoo—there’s something deeper going on that could be addressed."

The Guarinos recommend that hospitals and trauma centers partner with gang intervention organizations. Currently, New Hanover Regional Medical Center alerts hospital police when treating any violent crime victims.