Rhode Island Hospital prepares in case of mass casualty incident
By Bianca Buono
At least 58 people died and more than 500 people were injured after a gunman opened fire on a concert in Las Vegas. Moments after the horrific shooting, many compared the scene at area hospitals to a war zone. They were overflowing with patients in desperate need of medical attention.
Now, hospitals across the country are reassessing their protocols.
"It makes us look at our own efforts to make sure that we can take care of patients that we need to god forbid something like that happens here,” said Dr. Charles A. Adams, Jr., Chief of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Rhode Island Hospital.
Dr. Adams says if a mass casualty incident were to happen in Rhode Island, victims would first be brought to Rhode Island Hospital because it has the only level one trauma center in the state.
"We can take care of any trauma patient, any kind of injury. We render definitive care,” Dr. Adams explained.
Because of that, hospital staff is constantly preparing for the worst. Several times per year, the hospital holds small and large scale disaster drills.
"In a mass casualty event the sky is the limit unfortunately we don't cap. We could take care of as many as we need to,” said Dr. Adams.
Thankfully, nothing comparable to Las Vegas has happened locally. However, in recent history, the trauma center has been tasked with handling horrific tragedies. First, the Station Nightclub fire where dozens of victims and burn patients were treated.
More recently, the hair hanging acrobats who plunged 30 feet to the ground at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
"We do have a bit of a track record. My hope is we're never really put to the test with a mass shooting like Vegas,” Dr. Adams said.
Dr. Adams says if something like the Las Vegas shooting happened locally, the hospital would be able to handle 10 to 15 trauma surgeries at a time. They would rely heavily on other hospitals in Rhode Island and the five level one trauma centers in Boston.