N.O. Hospitals train for mass shooter events

Though they hope it never has to be implemented, New Orleans-area hospitals do train for possible 'mass casualty' events.

New Orleans, like Las Vegas is a tourist town and emergency managers here are well aware a mass shooting could happen anywhere.

That's why area hospitals, trauma doctors and city leaders plan throughout the year for mass casualty situations.

University Medical Center in conjunction with the LSU Health Science Center New Orleans would take the most critical patients.

"The plans would call for the trauma center to get all the seriously injured patients and then the other casualties would be distributed to the other hospitals in the community," Dr. James Aiken, LSU Health Disaster Medicine expert and UMC physician said. "We need the capability of getting our hands on those patients that critically need an operation within the hour."

Aiken added, the trauma center could also tap resources outside the New Orleans area.

"If the numbers completely overwhelm our hospitals in this community's ability to take of them, we have the capability of sending these patients to other communities of care," Aiken said.

UMC has the ability to utilize 14 operating rooms at one time with 2 to 3 operating rooms on standby around the clock.

"We have a back up call schedule for a mass casualty incident that probably is about nine to ten surgeons deep that we can pull in," Dr. John Hunt, UMC Trauma Surgeon said. 

Hunt added, general surgeons at other hospitals have the training to handle most trauma patients. Those surgeons are integrated into both the city and state emergency response plans. 

"That would be stretching them and it's not something that they're used to doing, but in an emergency, we would pull them in, when you're talking about having 400 patients with penetrating trauma," Hunt said.

Both trauma physicians said average bystanders can play a huge role in saving lives in the aftermath of a mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas.

LSU Health Science Center and the University Medical Center doctors teach a class every other Monday called "Stop the Bleed."

The program trains ordinary citizens how to help someone who is bleeding from a gunshot or other injury.

"It's actually easier than CPR," Dr. Hunt said. "There are a few rudiments to taking care of life threatening hemorrhage, that is basically hold pressure, stop the bleeding and apply a tourniquet if it's an extremity wound."

"Just being able to stop active bleeding, anyway we can, until they bring them here (to UMC), I know will provide a huge increase in our success in saving lives," Dr. Aiken said. "It's just getting over your hesitation maybe to become involved in the care of a patient."

The next class at UMC is October 9 from 11-12 p.m. People can register or request a class for their school, business or civic group online here:  http://www.umcno.org/stopthebleed

 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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