Inside Parkland Trauma Center the Night of Dallas Police Shooting

By the time the staff of Parkland Memorial Hospital's Rees-Jones Trauma Center received word of gunshots fired, the first victim had just arrived at the hospital's Emergency Department unloading dock.

"There was no notification," said Jorie Klein, BSN, RN, Director of the Trauma Program.

Klein spoke to NBC 5's Bianca Castro about the night a gunman opened fire on police officers who were working a planned demonstration in downtown Dallas last Thursday.

Four Dallas police officers and one Dart Transit officer were killed.

Seven of the 10 injured officers were transported to Parkland.

"To hear that an officer has been shot is like part of your family has been shot," said Klein.

She says the hospital enacted a code yellow level three.

Code yellow level ones are reserved for catastrophic events, while a code yellow level three is used in situations with multiple casualities.

"At Parkland, we use our disaster system quite a bit for training and for response, so if there’s an opportunity, we will use it to make sure people are comfortable with it, that they know what to do, they know how to use their radios and how to use their forms," said Klein.

As the injured officers arrived, they were assigned a letter of the greek alphabet until they were indentified.

Nurses performed disaster triage on each one.

"In disaster triage, you’re really using your eyes, your ears, your fingertips and your smell and that’s the only thing you're doing," explained Klein. "If I say to you, 'what's your name,' and you answer me back, that tells me you have an airway, you're breathing. If I touch your skin and it's warm and dry, and I take your pulse, it's not count how many beats, it is to see, 'is it fast, is it weak?'" said Klein.

After that brief initial assessment, the most critical officers were brought to the critical care rooms, where about 20 doctors, nurses and a respiratory therapist would attend to the patient.

Klein said in all, doctors went through 90 units of blood.

As the victims were rushed through the trauma center, their families and fellow officers packed into two large family rooms inside the Emergency Department.

Klein estimates about 70 other officers stood guard in the halls and another 200 waited outside.

Klein says the trauma system worked as planned, but what made this situation different was treating the amount of officers, many of whom, they consider family.

"That’s really hard. I mean, I’ve certainly been here when other officers have died, but seeing that number of them and the large number of officers here to wait for them, that was almost overwhelming, again, because we’re so integrated with them," said Klein.

Three officers died at the hospital.

"I've seen alot of things at Parkland, but watching my nurses walk behind them after they pushed three of those officers out and loaded them into the medical examiner's vehicle... all the officers that were here were lined up, that shows their respect, their love, their comraderie. That was probably one of the most touching emotional points that I've seen," says Klein.

Klein said her team has changed certain procedures from lessons learned that evening, such as strengething internal communications protocol.

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