SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The death toll in Las Vegas in likely to rise. The victims are spread across five hospitals, making an accurate victim count difficult. 22News visited to Baystate Medical Center to see how they would respond to a mass casualty incident.
Baystate says they’ve experience mass casualty situations before. The Jahn Foundry explosion in 1999 and more recently, the tornado in 2011.
“We have no idea how many patients were coming in but we wanted to be able to facilitate everybody so the O.R. was on call and blood was put on hold so that everything was taken care of,” explained trauma Nurse Lori Damato. Damato was describing the hospital’s response to the 2011 tornado.
On a regular day Baystate’s trauma center treats victims of shootings, stabbings, and people with head injury or spinal trauma.
“In a situation like we’ve seen this morning in Las Vegas, that’s a whole different story,” said Chief of Trauma Dr. Ronald Gross.
Trauma response is what happens after the bullets are fired. Crucial seconds, intense stress and life-saving teamwork. Just like the hospital in Nevada, Baystate Medical Center is a certified level 1 trauma facility. They have three trauma rooms capable of supporting six people at a time. The trauma rooms are just a few feet away from the emergency room entrance.
During a mass casualty or level one type trauma situation, patients would obviously lose a lot of blood. At Baystate, they keep the blood shelves fully stocked of every blood type.
Minutes into our interview a call came into the communications center. There was a car crash at 60MPH. The victim was thrown from the vehicle.
In less than 5 minutes the team was ready and the patient was in. Dr. Gross told 22News in a situation with many victims, tough decisions are made.
“Some of them will survive, not all of them will and the hard decision in a civilian population where we are used to giving everything to everyone is to now figure out who do we have the best chance of keeping alive,” explained Dr. Gross.
The basic goal of the trauma team is to stabilize the patient and get them ready for transfer to either the operating room or intensive care.