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Local hospital explains massive trauma protocol after Las Vegas shootings

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- An official from Beacon Health System said Las Vegas hospitals were overwhelmed when treating the over 500 victims of the Las Vegas concert shooting Sunday night.

More than 527 people were injured during the shooting incident on the Las Vegas strip. Multiple reports said the sheer number of victims overwhelmed emergency medical workers.

“In those kinds of events, we’re all going to be overwhelmed,” said Dr. Scott Thomas, Chief of Trauma Services for Beacon Health System.

Thomas said, unfortunately, the United States is seeing more and more of events like the Las Vegas concert shooting, making it imperative for hospitals to be ready for anything.

“That kind of event is going to overwhelm essentially any kind of scenario where you’ve got limited resources,” Thomas said.

He said in mass causality events hospitals should become a network, rather than silos, collaborating to keep people alive.

“When you look at what’s happened in Las Vegas there are six hospitals that are involved in receiving all of those patients,” he said.

University Medical Center of Southern Nevada is the state’s only level-one trauma center. According to a hospital spokeswoman, 104 shooting victims were treated there.

A level-one trauma center is, according to the American Trauma Society, a facility that is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehab. It has 24-hour in-house general surgeons and other specified services.

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, a level-two trauma center, saw 180 injured people. Another hospital, St. Rose Dominican, received 58 patients.

A level-two trauma center is a facility that is able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients, according to the American Trauma Society. Memorial Hospital is a level-two trauma center.

Thomas said Memorial is not much different from a level-one trauma facility. He also said if a mass casualty incident occurred in South Bend, medical systems would follow the same protocol.

“The ultimate process is again getting the right patient to the right facility at the right time,” he said.

To prioritize patients, first responders, and hospital personnel use triage, evaluating who needs emergency treatment immediately, who can wait a bit longer, and who can wait beyond that.

“We have to bring in more crews and more teams,” Thomas said. “It’s better to do that than be underprepared so it’s all about preparation.”

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