On Monday, less than 24 hours after 59 people were killed in the nation’s largest mass shooting, Las Vegas hospitals were working to save the lives of more than 500 victims.
That’s a staggering number, especially considering that Nevada has just one hospital – University Medical Center in Las Vegas – with a Level-1 trauma center.
Over the past week, stories of heroism have poured in – like the 53-year-old man who covered his children with his body and had footprints on his back from people who stepped on him while fleeing. Or the woman who jumped from her bed when she heard the news, loaded water into her car and raced to the live shooting scene. Or the military vets who literally plugged bullet holes with their fingers to stop blood loss.
In the emergency departments of Nevada hospitals, nurses and doctors worked tirelessly, making hundreds of split-second, life-and-death decisions. They too are heroes.
They are heroes because in these horrible moments, they do their jobs without fear or favor, without regard for their own needs – sleep, family, food. They represent the epitome of what it means to work in health care – that when the worst presents itself, there are those who rise to the challenge.
These women and men do not stand alone. Through the Hospitals Against Violence action program, the American Hospital Association is working to reduce violence in homes, at jobs and in neighborhoods. This website hosts a broad range of materials and information to help hospital employees cope with the impact of violence in their communities and in their facilities.
For their courage and dedication, the hospital workers in Las Vegas – and everywhere – deserve our lasting gratitude.