Gunfire in America has left a growing number of people with long-term disabilities. In one city, a support group that includes people who spent time in the same trauma ward offers a way to cope.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Three years after a former boyfriend kicked down her door, fired a gun at her nine times and left her paralyzed, Porche Powell steeled herself for a virtual visit to the hospital ward where she had spent long weeks in recovery.
Joining a video call, she saw a man lying in the same bed in the same room where she had been told that she would never walk again. His tearful description of being gunned down on a Rochester street jolted her back to her own struggles in Room 5-1200 — the physical medicine and rehabilitation unit that its occupants refer to as “the 512.”
When she left that unit, at Strong Memorial Hospital, a month after the shooting, Ms. Powell, 28, spent days sitting in empty rooms in her home with nothing to do. For almost a year, she couldn’t talk about her new life without crying, until a nurse connected her with a recently formed support group for gun violence survivors and others with spinal cord injuries.