When the National Rifle Association posted a tweet Nov. 7 telling doctors to "stay in their lane" when it comes to gun violence, doctors did anything but. A cascade of tweets followed from emergency room doctors detailing their gruesome work, posting under the hashtag #ThisIsMyLane.

One local physician who is all too familiar with this sort of work is Dr. Peter Masiakos, who in his career has treated hundreds of gunshot victims. Masiakos is a pediatric trauma surgeon and the director of pediatric trauma services at Mass General Hospital. Last year, along with his colleague Dr. Cornelia Griggs, he wrote a piece for The New England Journal of Medicine that details what happens when a gunshot victim cannot be saved. Masiakos joined All Things Considered Host Barbara Howard to talk about that piece. This transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: Your article, it's called "The Quiet Room." What is the quiet room?

Dr. Peter Masiakos: We use a room near the trauma bays where we break the bad news to the families. It's far from the chaos that we experience trying to resuscitate a victim. It's dark, almost always. There's perhaps a painting or two on the wall, intended to be soothing. But we dread the walk there. There's always a box of tissues on the table and a couple of chairs that nobody uses. Our faces really tell the story as soon as we walk in the door. We try to remember a script. We try to break the news to them as gently as we can. But there's nothing gentle about the news that they're going to hear. So we tell them. I've come to the point where I just tell them what happened, and then I try to explain how much I did to try to save their child.

Howard: At that moment, though, are they receptive to hearing that, even?

Masiakos: No. most of the conversations we have end with screams. And most of the conversations we have end with a hug. It's not something that we learn in a classroom. I've been doing this for 25 years, and it hasn't gotten easier.

Howard: At that moment, the physician's skills that you bring to your job, it's irrelevant at that point. You're more of a human approaching another human, I would think?

Masiakos: I'm a father approaching a mother or a father, most of the time. That's what makes it more difficult now. As a young surgical resident, I didn't have that part of my life. I became a dad 15 years ago. It became more important, as I understood what it's like to be the receiver of news, even small amounts of bad news with my children and how terrible I felt about those things, and fortunately nothing to the magnitude that I break to the parents.

Howard: This must take a toll.

Masiakos: It certainly does. I think that we were compelled to write this piece because of that toll. Cornelia was a resident in Boston and now is a pediatric surgery fellow in New York.

Howard: She's your co-author on this —

Masiakos: She's my co-author. And Cornelia and I had been talking about writing something visceral for about two years. We decided to write this on the heels of the Sutherland Springs shooting, in which 14 children died, the most since Sandy Hook. When that happened, she called me. It was a Sunday night, and we wrote that piece in about two hours. We'd been thinking about it, but the point was reached that day that said we were compelled to tell people that our patients are not just a statistic.

It's funny for us that many times when we hear the news of a mass shooting or even the day-to-day shootings in Chicago, or in the '90s when I trained in Boston, the narrative always becomes a number. How many people die. How many people were injured. What happened to the first responders who saw them? And we are implicit in that. And the idea that the humans were minimized to a number, bothered me and bothered Cornelia. And it appears to have bothered my colleagues who have come out in response to this NRA tweet that minimized us. The medical community is a cross-section of the fabric of our general community. We're diverse in our backgrounds, we're diverse in our opinions. but what this showed was that we're more unified in this than many believe we are.