Pittsburgh hospitals treat 7 victims of synagogue shooting

Pittsburgh-based UPMC and Allegheny Health Network treated seven victims of the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pa., which killed 11 individuals, reports Pittsburgh Business Times.

Here are five things to know:

1. Three UPMC physicians, Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services and other first responders arrived on the scene within a half-hour. Leonard Weiss, MD, a UPMC critical care physician and EMS medical director who lives near the synagogue, arrived within minutes of the shooting. First responders found 11 people dead inside the building, along with six injured, including four police officers.

"There was a lot of interaction right at the scene, all the way through to the hospital, about what's the best care that needs to happen," Don Yealy, MD, UPMC's chair of emergency medicine, told Pittsburgh Business Times.

2. Pittsburgh's four level 1 trauma centers received an emergency operations alert to prepare for potential mass casualties around 10:15 a.m. UPMC Presbyterian received five patients, two of whom were in critical condition. The hospital is just 2 miles away from the synagogue. UPMC Mercy and Allegheny General Hospital — which was put on standby — each received one patient.

3. UPMC Presbyterian staffed six emergency medicine attending physicians, six attending trauma surgeons and various residents, specialists and other clinicians to treat the shooting victims.

"At the beginning, when we didn't know how big this could be, we actually did call in extra physicians at both facilities," Dr. Yealy told Pittsburgh Business Times.

4. The two critically injured patients are a 70-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and a 55-year-old police officer who confronted the shooter, according to Pittsburgh Business Times. Both victims underwent surgery at UPMC Presbyterian, and the officer is now in stable condition. The hospital is also treating a 61-year-old woman in stable condition and a 40-year-old male police officer in critical condition. A 27-year-old officer was treated and released Oct. 27, according to an update from UPMC.

5. In separate interviews with Pittsburgh Business Times, Dr. Yealy and Thomas Stein, MD, an emergency physician and disaster response leader at Allegheny General, said the health systems' mass casualty plans, which aim to prevent one hospital from getting flooded with patients, worked correctly.

"We have one of the most advanced EMS systems in the country ... decades of investment and people, excellent EMS. It's not by luck. It's by design of local government and the local healthcare facilities," Dr. Yealy said. "What people don't recognize about Pittsburgh, there's a well-integrated physician presence in EMS, separate from the outstanding EMS providers that the city has hired, trained and continue to train. Most other cities don't have that type of involvement in the field."

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