One Night in the Emergency Department

Dr. Kevin Menes is an attending physician in charge of the Emergency Department at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. He works the night shift. On the evening of October first, he had three other emergency doctors, one trauma surgeon, and a trauma resident on duty when the hospital was notified of a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI)- someone was shooting people at an outdoor concert. Dr. Menes went into action, calling up extra staff and preparing operating rooms.

I was out in the ambulance bay when the first police cars arrived with patients. There were three to four people inside each cruiser. Two people on the floorboards and two in the back seat, and they were in bad shape. These patients were “scoop and run”—minimal to no prior medical care but brought in a timely manner. They had thready pulses, so they went directly to Station 1, our red tag area. By textbook standards, some of these first arrivals should have been black tags, but I sent them to the red tag area anyway. I didn’t black tag a single one. We took everybody that came in—I pulled at least 10 people from cars that I knew were dead—and sent them straight back to Station 1 so that another doc could see them. If the two of us ended up thinking that this person was dead, then I knew that it was a legitimate black tag.

Before the night was over, Sunrise would treat 215 gunshot victims, not counting a few dozen who saw the trauma cases and decided their wounds could wait until later. Dr. Menes tells the story of how he and his staff handled that night at Emergency Physicians Monthly. Beneath the medical jargon, the account is intense and gripping. -via Metafilter


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