Nashville Health Care Company HCA Plans To Learn From Its Hospital In Las Vegas | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Health Care Company HCA Plans To Learn From Its Hospital In Las Vegas

Oct 9, 2017

It was an HCA facility that treated more patients than any other hospital after the Las Vegas shooting a week ago: Sunrise Hospital received about 200 wounded concert-goers within an hour.

The Nashville-based hospital chain says it expects to learn from the unprecedented mass casualty event.

Sunrise Hospital is a level 2 trauma center, which means it has to conduct mass casualty exercises twice a year — a vital exercise, trauma director Chris Fisher says.

"We always take it seriously in that training, but if this doesn't hammer home the point, nothing will," says Fisher.

Hospitals throughout the Las Vegas region jumped into action Sunday evening. At Sunrise, nearly every employee was called in. Fisher headed in as soon as he got a message that there may be a mass casualty situation. He says it usually turns out to be minor.

This time, it was whirlwind of back-to-back surgeries like no one in the ER had ever seen.

"When I got here, there was already a patient in the operating room that I hadn't met yet, waiting for me for surgery that had been shot in the abdomen," he says. "So you just start and you get scrubbed in and you go right away. And as soon as that case got done, I just moved on to the next one."

Fisher says Sunrise still hasn't had time to fully debrief. But when they do, they also plan to offer counseling to staffers as they reflect on the chaos. And the lessons will get passed on to HCA's more than 170 hospitals.

"We are analyzing this incredible response and incorporating the lessons learned," says Mike Wargo, HCA assistant vice president of preparedness and emergency operations.

Wargo says in a statement that Sunrise handled the "tragic situation extraordinarily well, saving many lives."

The company is also analyzing how hurricane-battered facilities in Texas and Florida — more lessons to help the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain handle whatever disaster comes next.