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Doctor: Assault Weapons Cause Catastrophic Injuries

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Gang conflicts are turning some Chicago neighborhoods into war zones. One conflict led to four people shot to death in a car in Brighton Park.

The weapon used: an assault rifle.

In his 32 years at Stroger Hospital, Dr. Richard Keen has treated thousands of gunshot victims. These days, he's seeing more patients shot by the high-powered weapons.

"We're seeing individuals that are shot 5, 6, even 10 times," Keen tells CBS 2's Martinez Martinez.

"The amount of resources that's required to manage these patients is substantial," Keen says. He added wounds from assault rifles are more devastating because those rifles are more powerful than handguns.

Dr. Keen gives the example of what happens when a bullet hits a bone: "If it's a handgun, the fracture is relatively straightforward to fix. If it's an assault rifle, the bone shatters into 30 pieces."

He says the damage to tissue and organs is even worse.

"The pressure wave will cause injuries. Almost like a car crash," Keen says. "A standard gunshot wound might makes a hole the size of your small finger, like a handgun would make usually small hole. But with an assault rifle you (could) probably put most or maybe your whole hand into the wound."

Keen says patients who do survive being shot by an assault rifle often face lifelong issues and a compromised quality of life.

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