The experience of Kimberly Hatchel, Chief Nursing Officer
My name is Kimberly Hatchel and I was the Chief Nursing Officer at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center – a Level II Trauma Center when the October 1st, 2017 Mass Casualty Incident – Active Shooter event occurred in Las Vegas. The event officially announced a little after 10pm, produced 24 hours full of actions aimed at saving human life.
At approximately 2225 the first private vehicle arrived at Sunrise carrying patients. This notation is significant as the number of patients shot in this event thrust those not injured into the immediate role of the first responder. Arrival patterns of patients were also uncertain as there was no ability to announce their arrival. At 2229 the first ambulance arrived carrying patients. At 2300 the first patient was triaged to the ICU and by 2330 a code triage was called as the magnitude of the event was both being felt and understood. By 2359 five surgeries had been completed.
By 0112 over 100 physicians had responded and by 0200 over 200 nurses had responded. This number proved to be significant as the severity of patient injury required 1:1 nursing care of patients in the initial stabilization and transfer to surgery or ICU. By 0247 the Emergency Department had 228 patients in various stages of treatment in a 52-bed Emergency Department. By 0451 we had 167 patients discharged/transferred from the hospital. By 0545 the Clark County Corner arrived to clear the release of the non-surviving victims of the mass casualty shooting. By 1100 Emergency Department Operations had returned to normal. By midnight on 10/2 – 56 surgeries had been completed. There were 212 known victims treated and an additional 30 who elected not to remain and allow the more severely injured patients to be treated in the first few hours after the event.
The Level I trauma center had been put on diversion. This was the catalyst for the Level II to take twice as many patients.
Dr. Hatchel, I am certain your leadership in the event was one many would like to hear more of. There is nothing so motiving as a personal experience to illuminate the true spirit of nurses and colleagues endlessly giving in time of crisis. We all look forward to your ongoing contributions. Kelly Aldrich DNP, MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS