How Hospitals Respond to Medical Emergencies

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Concert-goers at Route 91 in Las Vegas ran for their lives.

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Chief of Medicine Dr. Gina Piazza had the same reaction as most.

“I thought, not another one.”

Her second reaction…

“What would we do if and when this happens when I’m at work?”

Not if a mass shooting happens at work, but if her hospital was the nearest source of medical help for hundreds.

Dr. Piazza is the co-chair of a nationwide task force trying to improve response to active shooter situations.

“When I started teaching this information. I was met with groans and complaints…We are not a city and it's not going to happen here. That doesn't happen anymore. Everybody understands that this is the unfortunate progression in society and we need to be prepared.”

Dr. Piazza says preparation is key.

"If you are close to a tragedy, you will start to receive casualties whether you are a trauma center and prepared for that or not."

And not just for medical professionals.

“The bystander is really the first link on the chain for trauma survival, and it is critically important that we as a nation make sure that our citizens know what to do… Stopping bleeding is essential. Once someone loses a critical amount of blood there is nothing heroic care that can happen in the emergency department or operating room that is going to save that person.”

An unfortunate trend Piazza says we must prepare for.

“I wish that we didn't have to accept that this is normal, but it is normal around the world and normal in our country and while it is our normal. We need to prepare.”