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Las Vegas Doctor On Treating Shooting Victims: 'It's Been Difficult And Chaotic'


The closest trauma center to the Las Vegas Strip is the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. After the attack on the Harvest Country Musical Festival last night, nearly 200 injured people were brought there. Earlier today I talked to the chief medical officer at Sunrise, Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, and I asked him what the last 24 hours have been like at his hospital.

JEFFREY MURAWSKY: It's been extremely busy. It's been difficult and chaotic, but I think that we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

MCEVERS: What does the hospital look like right now? Are patients being triaged all over the place? I mean is that how it has to be in a situation like this?

MURAWSKY: Well, for us in this particular situation, we have a relatively large emergency department, so we were able to triage the patients as they presented by ambulance from the scene. So we've received about 30 at a time and were able to move them off to our operating rooms if they needed to go emergently or stabilize them in those bays and then move them upstairs into beds in the hospital.

MCEVERS: And how are you dealing with this scale? I mean have you had to call in extra shifts of people to work?

MURAWSKY: Yeah. I'm very proud of the hospital and its team. We were able to call our staff in, our physicians in. And we were able to get responses from everyone and bring in extra surgeons, extra nurses, paramedics, techs, people who clean the floor and deliver food. You know, we were able...


MURAWSKY: ...To bring all those folks in to meet all those different needs.

MCEVERS: Now, I understand your facility treated 180 patients. Is that right?

MURAWSKY: That's correct

MCEVERS: Yeah - and because it's the hospital that's the closest to where this happened.

MURAWSKY: It is - and because we are a trauma center. So we're prepared and set up to be able to handle these kinds of injuries. One-hundred-twenty-four of those individuals had gunshot wounds - so were major traumas that we had to deal with. And people had a lot of injuries from the chaos at the scene. So we had people who'd fallen, scrapes, breaking bones from tripping and falling - those kinds of things.

MCEVERS: I mean the scale of this massacre was so huge. When you think about the response on the part of officials at different levels, how do you think it went?

MURAWSKY: We were very happy with the coordination and information we received from our partners here with Las Vegas Metro and our other hospitals to let us know what they were up to, what resources they were providing for us and what we needed. And we received a lot of support from our parent company who also stepped up to make sure we had all of our needs met.

MCEVERS: Have you ever seen anything like this?

MURAWSKY: Well, no one can say they've seen anything like this. You know, we've seen events that brought us 30 patients at once, but no one's seen anything of this magnitude before.

MCEVERS: How will you be caring for, you know, staff in the coming days? This is traumatic for them as well.

MURAWSKY: Thank you for asking. And we're bringing in some counselors to help us work with our staff. And we'll continue to focus on that and give the staff the time they need to recover and to heal from this.

MCEVERS: Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, chief medical officer for Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, thank you very much.

MURAWSKY: Thank you for asking about us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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