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Exposure To Violent Crime And Its Long-Term Impact On First Responders

Captain Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department (at left) and Helen Sandkuhl of SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, St. Louis Fire Department Chief Dennis Jenkerson said that paramedics see the impact of so much violence that they're quitting faster than he can hire replacements.

“Two to three paramedics a month are leaving the job,” said Captain Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “If you can leave the St. Louis City Fire Department and go to another department where there’s less trauma, or get into a completely different field, that’s what we’re seeing our people do.”

Mosby gave the example of a recent drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of a three-year-old girl.

“Talking to the responders who were on that call, hearing some of the graphic details - you have a wide range of emotional response to that. And this is something that we’re seeing over and over and over again,” he said. “It is seriously taking a toll.”

Mosby spoke with guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network, alongside Helen Sandkuhl of SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, who has been working in emergency medicine for more than 45 years. They talked about the impact of violence in the area and the toll it takes on the morale and the mental health of those providing emergency care.

Listen to the discussion:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.


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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.