Would our hospitals be able to respond to over 500 patients?

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tragedies like the one in Las Vegas often leave us questioning how our own city would handle something of this magnitude.

Nearly 60 people were killed and over 520 were injured when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel on the strip, raining bullets onto a crowd of concert-goers as Jason Aldean performed.

Would our hospitals be able to respond to over 500 shooting patients?

“There is no way to prepare for what happened in Las Vegas,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, the Chairman of Vanderbilt Department of Emergency Medicine.

Just the thought of it happening in Tennessee is unthinkable for doctors at Vanderbilt, even after conducting routine drills.

“It’s even hard to consider a city being prepared for 500 at one time,” Slovis said. “All of us will try to do our best, we will distribute patients, we will use overflow areas, but this is really the unthinkable.”

(Photo: WKRN)

It’s equally unthinkable for doctors at TriStar Skyline Medical Center.

“The slogan at TriStar Skyline is ‘We Stand Ready,’” said Dr. Ben Heavrin, Chief of Emergency Medicine. “You can’t prepare for those numbers, 400 injured, 50 and 60 shots. What needs to come across is, is the state ready. It’s not something Vanderbilt and Skyline can absorb.”

It was a week ago Sunday that Nashville suffered a mass tragedy of its own with the Antioch church shooting, seven injured and one dead.

TriStar Skyline and Vanderbilt both were put on mass causality alert.

“We had multiple critically injured victims. It was horrific that a woman died senselessly in a parking lot,” Dr. Slovis said. “Medically speaking, for the people that came here, things could not have gone better. We had 20 minutes to prepare.”

“We’re ready to take care of the sick. We hope we never have to in these situations, but our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured and those who have lost loved ones. It just hurts that we are having to say this two weekends in a row,” said Dr. Heavrin.

TriStar Skyline Medical Center
(Photo: WKRN)

TriStar Skyline’s sister hospital HCA Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas has treated 180 patients so far.

This tragedy hits home.

“Several of our leadership here, some of our nurses here, used to work at Sunrise, and to talk to them this morning to see how that hits home at a level that I don’t know, that maybe we don’t know, is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the victim’s families,” Heavrin told News 2.

Vanderbilt is a level one trauma hospital, meaning it will take any critically injured patients, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tristar Skyline is a level two trauma center. It is also prepared to take all critically injured patients with the exception of burn victims.