August 5, 2019

2 shootings. 9 hospitals. 31 fatalities: How hospitals responded to this weekend's mass shootings

Daily Briefing
     Editor's note: This story was updated on Tuesday, Aug. 6, to reflect the latest information.

    Providers at hospitals in Texas and Ohio rushed to treat victims of two mass shootings over the weekend—one in El Paso that left 22 dead and 24 injured, and one in Dayton that left nine dead and at least 27 injured.

    From shootings to hurricanes: How can hospitals prepare for disasters?

    Details on the El Paso shooting

    On Saturday morning, a gunman entered a Walmart at a shopping center in El Paso armed with an A.K.-47-style rifle and began firing, killing 22 people and injuring at least 24. Police have one suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, in custody.

    According to Greg Allen, chief of the El Paso Police Department, officials are exploring potential capital murder chargers for Crusius, who surrendered to police. The FBI is reviewing evidence to determine whether the shooting was a hate crime, a separate federal crime, or an act of domestic terrorism.

    Officials are also investigating an anti-immigrant manifesto posted online to determine whether it was posted by Crusius.

     El Paso-area hospitals receive patients

    According to Ryan Mielke, a spokesperson for University Medical Center of El Paso, the hospital received 13 patients, including several with "level one" injuries, which Mielke said is the most severe. Two patients, ages two and nine, were taken to El Paso Children's Hospital, and as of Saturday their conditions were stable.

    Stephen Flaherty, a doctor in the trauma center at Del Sol Medical Center, in an update Sunday morning said 11 patients were being treated at Del Sol, with three in critical condition and eight in stable condition. Patients ranged in age from 35 to 82. According to David Shimp, the hospital's CEO, one of the patients was scheduled to be discharged Sunday.

    Flaherty said Del Sol's staff was prepared for the worst but that the emotional toll the experience has on providers is still severe. "We recently had an expertise where we had a mock drill if there had been an active shooter in this city," Flaherty said. "We brought people into the hospital for a dry-run situation just like that. So we have been through this before without real patients. But as you know, when this happens for real and it's not just an exercise, there are a lot of feelings and emotions attached to it."

    Jorge Sainz, a pediatrician who was at Del Sol Saturday, described the severity of patients' wounds. "There is civil trauma and then there is military trauma, the stuff that happens at war. … This was getting close to military trauma." He added, "I was seeing scooped-out flesh. It kept coming. And coming."

    In an interview on CNN, former Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary Juliette Kayyem said it may be possible the number of people wounded in the shooting may be higher, as some victims might not have sought medical care because of their immigration status.

    Details on the Dayton shooting

    Early Sunday morning, Connor Betts, 24, allegedly opened fire with a .223-caliber high-capacity rifle at a popular entertainment district in downtown Dayton, according to Richard Biehl, Dayton police chief. Ten people were killed, including Betts, and at least 27 were injured.

    According to Biehl, local police were in the area when they heard gunfire and engaged Betts within about 20 seconds. "The threat was neutralized at approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shot," Biehl said. Betts was killed by police fire, according to the Associated Press.

    Authorities have said there is no evidence so far of the shooting being a bias crime, though Biehl added authorities "do not have sufficient information" to determine a motive.

    Dayton-area hospitals receive patients

    Thirty- seven people were treated at Dayton area hospitals after the shooting, WHIO reported Monday evening.

    Twenty-three patients were taken to Premier Health hospitals, according to WHIO. Three patients were still being treated, WHIO reported Monday evening. One patient remained in critical condition, one is in stable condition, and the other is in fair condition, WHIO reports.

    WHIO reported Monday evening that 17 patients were taken to Premier's Miami Valley Hospital (MVH).

    In addition, two victims were treated at Premier's Miami Valley Hospital South, and another was evaluated and released from Premier's Miami Valley Hospital Austin Boulevard Emergency Center. Three patients were treated at Miami Valley Hospital North.

    Gregory Semon, a doctor at MVH, said the hospital was "extremely well prepared for the worst humanity can bring on itself. We trained for this." He added that, as a level one trauma center, MVH is used to receiving multiple victims from multiple incidents.

    The Kettering Health Network, a health system of nine hospitals in Dayton, received 14 victims at three of its medical centers. Elizabeth Long, a spokesperson for Kettering, said nine victims were treated at Grandview Medical Center.  Four of those patients were discharged from Grandview, and five are at Grandview in good condition, WHIO reported Monday morning.  Two patients were treated at Soin Medical Center and released, WHIO reports. Three were treated at Kettering Medical Center.

    William Breeding, an ED physician at Grandview, said "We certainly hoped to never have to deal with anything like this here, but we prepared for it." He added that, once his shift ended after 8 a.m., he and his staff looked at each other "and a communal recognition that we went through that and supported each other" (Bethea, New Yorker, 8/4; Darby, GQ, 8/4; Valencia, KFOX14, 8/4; Candelaria, KFOX14, 8/3; Romero et. al., New York Times, 8/3; Kaur/Kline, CNN, 8/5; O'Donnell et. al., NBC Washington, 8/3; Croft/Simon, CNN, 8/5; AP/Los Angeles Times, 8/4; Osborne et. al., ABC News, 8/4; Sweigart/Gnau, WHIO, 8/4; University Medical Center of El Paso release, 8/3; Blankstein/Burke, NBC News, 8/3).

     

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