IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Five hospitals in the Las Vegas area handled the emergency influx of victims from last night's shootings.
KCRG TV9 talked to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics about how hospitals handle large numbers of patients coming in after a disastrous event. Some UIHC staff are all too familiar with managing a large number of casualties. One doctor vividly remembered the day an interstate bus fire brought all kinds of patients to the E.R.
"It's pretty overwhelming for the victims but it's also very overwhelming for the providers," said Dr. Dionne Skeete with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Dr. Skeete said that's why regular disaster training exercises are vital to preparing medical staff for whatever comes through those doors. Communication is the key.
"We set up a secondary triage there. We actually have a trauma surgeon in the bay assisting in making decisions about what priority of patients and what needs to happen with those patients," said Dr. Jonathan Simmons with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Tagging patients with green, yellow or red markers helps the process along. But things like time of day, weather, and scheduled surgeries are a few of many potential obstacles.
"Security is a big aspect of some of these disasters. We have to make sure the people who are coming in to help like the personnel who actually work at this hospital can get through," said Dr. Skeete.
Dr. Skeete said the biggest fear for a hospital like this is being in the center of a natural disaster like a tornado.
"The function of the hospital is compromised due to lack of electricity or you're not able to do some of the things you'd normally do because you don't have the resources," said Dr. Skeete.
Dr. Simmons said that's why hospitals have joined forces to share resources in high casualty situations.
"This is something that we prepare for. We make sure that we're ready for any sort of disaster that could strike either the hospital or just the population of Iowa," said Dr. Simmons.
Planning ahead for whatever may happen. UIHC has an automatic system that calls medical teams to the hospital during high casualty situations.