Doctors explain how they're prepared for mass casualty - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Doctors explain how they're prepared for mass casualty

Posted: Updated:
Doctors weigh in on how they are prepared for a mass casualty incident (WFSB) Doctors weigh in on how they are prepared for a mass casualty incident (WFSB)

It’s now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history with at least 59 dead and more than 500 injured.

The horrifying scenario that unfolded in Las Vegas has the medical community reassessing their training and preparations.

On Monday, doctors and emergency personnel at Hartford Hospital talked about it all day – how could they deal with something of this magnitude at such a level? The answer is it would be difficult.

“It really would overwhelm any one system in any city in the United States,” said Dr. Jonathan Gates, chief of surgery at Hartford Hospital.

The video of bullets flying and bodies on the ground had people around the world in shock.

“Our heart goes out to the folks in Las Vegas, their families, and also the practitioners who are now trying to provide care for all those victims,” said Dr. Thomas Abbruzzese, trauma medical director at Hartford Hospital.

At least 59 people dead and more than 500 injured, and the injuries demand some serious care.

“They’re going to see chest trauma, they’re going to see abdominal trauma, they’re going to see multiple organ injuries and significant extremity injuries. So, they’re going to be dealing with the full gambit,” Abbruzzese said.

Doctor’s at Hartford Hospital said it would require a regional effort to even begin taking care of such large numbers of patients.

“This is a large hospital, 867 beds with all the services available you can imagine but even that volume of patients would easily overwhelm any large hospital like this,” Gates said.

He added that they would have to reach out to St. Francis, or to Yale-New Haven, or Baystate in Massachusetts to respond.

“You know we’ve been through them, so whether it’s the marathon bombing or the station fire in Rhode Island, or even 9/11 there was preparation above and beyond New York City including Boston and Hartford and being able to absorb any patients that may come our way,” Gates said.

When talking about transporting that number of patients, Connecticut has three LIFE STAR helicopters on standby, and ambulance services would need to take more than a couple patients per trip.

“With this number of patients, I think we really would have to have a low threshold for reaching out to comrades in other areas and saying, we need help, we need resources, bring them in soon,” Gates said.

A triage is set up in those types of situations where the most seriously injured are taken in first and then others are sent to secondary hospitals.

“Well I don’t think there is any one institution that could care for that many patients there would need to be very rapid triage and even moving patients to other parts of the system or the geographic region so everyone could get timely care,” said Dr. Kenneth Robinson, chief of emergency medicine at Hartford Hospital.

The doctors said they can only prepare and train to the best of their abilities but nothing can prepare you for what happened in Las Vegas.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.