Doctor shares confronting X-ray to highlight leading cause of death in US kids

The emergency doctor shared the X-ray before asking people to guess what the leading cause of death in US children is.

·3-min read

A chest X-ray posted online highlighting the leading cause of death in children and adolescents in the United States has laid bare the alarming problem facing the country.

On Tuesday doctor Sam Ghali posted the image of a child's chest on his Twitter account, showing the child's lungs with what appeared to be a foreign object inside, asking those online to guess the scourge.

"Here’s the chest X-Ray of a young girl suffering from a condition that is now the #1 cause of death in children and adolescents in the US," he wrote. "What’s the diagnosis?"

X-Ray image of a child's chest with a bullet inside from a firearm incident.
The A&E doctor shared the X-ray of a child who had a bullet lodged in their chest after a firearm incident. Source: Twitter / Sam Ghali

After several guesses by followers, it was revealed that incidents involving firearms are now the leading cause of death in children in the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mortality data released last year showed that in 2020 firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death for people in the US aged 1 to 19.

There had been a steady increase in the rate of mortality associated with firearm possession in the country between 2015-2019, with a sharp rise of 13.5 per cent noted by 2020. This has only been exacerbated by a shocking 33.4 per cent rise in firearm homicides between 2019-2020, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

An Australia paediatric doctor responded to the X-ray image, shining a light on the stark reality these two doctors experience simply because they are emergency physicians in different countries.

"I have NEVER seen a gunshot wound in a child, and have not seen a gunshot wound in anyone for over 20 years," Dr Simon Craig shared.

Female shooter opens fire at Nashville elementary school

The image was posted to Twitter on the same day the US experienced its 130th mass shooting of the year, after a female shooter stormed an elementary school in Nashville and killed six people, three of which were children.

Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, was believed to be a previous student of the school and was killed by responding officers after receiving a call that an active shooter was on site.

Left: Joe Biden can be seen in a suit speaking into a microphone. Right: The female shooter who opened fire in a Nashville school can be seen in the hallway, holding the gun up.
US President Joe Biden has urged Congress to make drastic changes to gun laws after the country experienced its 130th mass shooting in 2023. Source: AAP and Reuters

According to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least one in four people are shot excluding the shooter, the country has already experienced 100 more mass shooting in 2023 compared to this time last year, with three occurring at schools.

'IT'S SICK': Joe Biden slams country's gun obsession

President Joe Biden has called for an end to gun violence and called the latest "heartbreaking" shooting "a family’s worst nightmare".

“It’s ripping our communities apart,” he said, before adding, “It’s about time we began to make some more progress".

Speaking to media in North Carolina, he said the country faced a sickness. "I never thought when I started my public life that guns would be the number one killer of children in America," he said. "It's sick."

Former US President Barack Obama posted a response to the shooting from Sydney, while in Australia on a public speaking tour.

“We are failing our children. Guns are now the leading cause of death for children in the US,” his tweet read.

"Michelle and I mourn with the students and families of the Covenant School today."

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