Ronnie Polaneczky | Temple Hospital teen program: Docs & shocksWHEN THE grisly PowerPoint image elicits gasps from the teens visiting Temple University Hospital, Scott Charles does a mock double-take. "Oh, I'm sorry, does that shock you?" he asks the 17 eighth-graders from the Thomas K. Finletter Academics Plus School, who gawk at the OR photo of a shooting victim whose innards ooze from a gaping wound. "Now, see, that surprises me, 'cause I know y'all think the gangsta life is cool. But when 50 Cent raps about bein' a gangsta, this is what he's talking about. I guess he's not givin' you the whole picture, right?" His patter is relentless as he clicks through photos of victims of violence, some of whom have been rushed to Temple's ER for the fight of their lives. There's the guy with a knife - an actual, six-inch knife - protruding from his head. There's the woman with the slashed throat. And there's a close-up of one young man's colostomy. "Yeah, any time you get shot in the gut, you're probably gonna get a colostomy," says Charles matter-of-factly. "Let me ask you: How much game do you think you need to get a girl to go home with you, when you've got a smelly bag of poop attached to your belly?" The kids recoil, but Charles is unflinching. "We're just getting started," he says. "Wait'll I take y'all to the morgue." Maybe this is what it takes, I think, as I watch Charles deliver the riveting routine he performs at Temple, where he's the trauma-outreach coordinator. Maybe every kid in the city needs to imagine, graphically, what it's like to be shot, to be worked on in an ER and then to die while their families wail just outside the hospital doors. So that some might actually think twice before picking up a gun, throwing down an ultimatum, or starting a feud over nothing that's worth a mother's grief. Charles runs a program called "From the Cradle to the Grave: Life and Death in Temple University Hospital's Trauma Bay." Twice a week, he gives teens a behind-the-scenes look at the aftermath of violence because, he says, they've become inured to its realities, even though it's in the music they hear, the movies they see, the sidewalk memorials. "They're both overexposed and totally uninformed about violence. We want to make it real, so they make better-informed choices about how to behave." So first, he lays out the facts. Of Philadelphia's 380 murder victims in 2005, he tells the students: * 80 percent were killed by handguns; * 80 percent were black males; * 40 percent were younger than age 23 - and 45 were under 18. And too many took their last breaths at Temple. Including 16-year-old Lamont Adams, whose route through Temple's ER the Finletter kids follow this day in a tour chillingly narrated by Charles and chief trauma surgeon Dr. Amy Goldberg. (Lamont's grandmother has allowed the hospital to discuss details of the teen's case.) "This is where we worked on Lamont," says Goldberg, as the students crowd around the very table where Lamont died from 24 bullet holes. She shows them the kind of scalpel used to open Lamont's chest, the rib-spreaders to get to his heart, the breathing tube pushed down his throat. They see the room where social worker Felipe Durand tries to calm frantic families. And then they walk in stunned silence to the morgue, where technician Greg Jackson greets them. He shows them the slab where the dead are autopsied, the drawers that hold their remains, the plastic buckets of dissected organs for disposal. "Now, when you autopsy a body, do you light a candle, say a few nice things when you're done?" Charles asks Jackson. "There's no time," he answers. "There's always another body coming." It's overwhelming. One student is so disturbed, he leaves the tour for a few minutes, to regroup with his teacher. The rest seem awakened and sobered by what they hadn't known until now, eager to discuss all they've seen. Will the day's lessons stick? Temple is pursuing funding to study the program, to see if it's making kids less likely to act on hostile and aggressive urges when faced with conflict. Meantime, Charles isn't waiting on the research. He does his show week in, week out. "Whatever it takes," he says, "we've got to try it."