SAN ANTONIO - Responding to mass-casualty situations is what local hospitals are trained to do. Clinicians at Northeast Baptist Hospital, one of the seven area hospitals that received multiple victims in the deadly human-smuggling case last month, took in 16 patients that day, and they're still caring for one.
Eight undocumented immigrants were found dead in a hot trailer in the parking lot of a Southwest Side Walmart on July 23. Dozens more survived and were rushed to the hospital, where two more died.
Trauma program manager and registered nurse Kelsie Reeh said her crew was prepared for the influx of patients.
“We never know specifically how many patients we are going to receive, but we prepare immediately once we find out something is going on. Get everything ready, call in resources that are needed, maybe call in additional staff," she said.
Reeh said the most important step is triaging patients as soon as they arrive.
“Finding out who is the most critical patient and getting them the care first, live-saving interventions. Make sure that nobody dies on us here at the hospital," she said.
Reeh said during mass-casualty events it is a chaotic scene, but there’s no time to let emotions get the best of staff members. She said in the end, they’re saving as many lives as they can.
“It feels good knowing you are there and able to help these patients,” she said.
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