North Texas Hospitals Address Mass Casualty Plan After Las Vegas Shooting

Treating victims of a mass casualty incident is a situation for which hospitals train, but administrators at North Texas hospitals say the shooting in Las Vegas will help them better prepare.

"No one is prepared to have 100, 200, 300 injured patients arrive on their doorstep in a period of an hour," said Dr. Michael Foreman, medical director of trauma at Baylor University Medical Center.

Foreman said he watched the events in Las Vegas unfold and was reminded of the Dallas police shootings of July 2016.

"We thought we had a really good mass casualty plan until we had that first mass casualty," he said.

Foreman said many lessons were learned after the Dallas police shootings, such as communication improvements.

While no single local hospital is equipped to handle hundreds of shooting victims at one time, there is a plan for them to work together during a mass casualty event.

In Dallas, there are four Level I trauma centers as well as additional Level I and Level II trauma centers in surrounding cities.

Trauma centers are ranked by the American College of Surgeons, from Level I (comprehensive service) to Level III (limited-care).

"We try to get those patients where they need to go and get them there as fast as possible, so we would disperse those patients so they could get the right care at the right time," said Jorie Klein, chair of the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and director of the Trauma Program at Parkland Health & Hospital System.

Klein believes North Texas is prepared for a situation similar to the Las Vegas shooting.

"We had the tornadoes. We had the police shooting last year. I think we are as prepared as we are going to be. The only thing that would make us better is people have to own this," Klein said.

By that, she means, people should be proactive and know where the nearest trauma center is located.

She also suggests people carry and learn how to administer a tourniquet.

Lessons come from tragedies, and while they come at a high price, Foreman said they're essential and life-saving.

"We will learn from this as well, and we pray that we won't have to use it," Foreman said.

MORE: To find a trauma center near you, click here.

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