The region’s only Level 1 trauma center treats just a handful of accidental shooting victims a month, but they leave a lasting mark on the nurses and surgeons who care for them — especially when they’re children.

“It’s not common, but when it happens you remember the accidental injuries that involve preschool age children,” says Dr. John Bilello, chief of pediatric trauma at Community Regional Medical Center and a clinical professor of surgery at UCSF Fresno. “To me, there’s no excuse for having a 3-year-old find a gun under a mattress or in a sock drawer, because kids explore. That’s what they do.”

Dr. Bilello would prefer to never have to treat those kinds of accidents again, so he bought 150 cable gun locks to help jump-start a gun safety program through Community Medical Centers’ pediatric clinics and to emergency department patients. “I wish I could buy everyone in Fresno a gun safe, but they are very expensive,” Dr. Bilello says. “The cable locks are just a bare minimum, a firewall. But it’s better than nothing, especially with little kids.”

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