'Anybody who had skills to help came down': How El Paso's only Level 1 trauma center handled a flood of shooting victims


Fifteen people were taken to University Medical Center of El Paso Aug. 3 after a gunman opened fire at a nearby Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring more than two dozen, reports The Washington Post.

The hospital, which is the area's only level 1 trauma center for 280 miles, received its first notification of an incoming trauma patient from Emergency Medical Services around 11 a.m., shortly after the shooting occurred. Once surgeons realized a mass casualty event had occurred, they immediately called in additional specialists, residents and nurses for help.

"Anybody who had skills to help came down, and we used every single one of them," Nancy Weber, DO, an emergency medicine physician and vice chair of quality and patient experience at the hospital, told The Washington Post.

Surgeons immediately took patients into emergency surgeries, using four operating rooms at once — a rarity for the hospital. In total, the patients required 109 units of blood, about 10 times the amount used at the hospital on a normal day.

University Medical Center leaders said they were well-prepared to care for the shooting victims, having completed a communitywide disaster training in October, and avoided any chaos or confusion.

Fourteen of the patients brought to University Medical Center survived. The 15th patient died shortly after arriving in the emergency room by ambulance.

To view The Washington Post's full report, click here.

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