Dignity Health's Las Vegas-area hospitals provide clinical, spiritual care for victims of mass assault

October 15, 2017


The Oct. 1 shooting massacre in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured at least 527. News reports described a "war zone" on the grounds of an outdoor country music festival as the shooter fired continuous rounds down into the crowd for about 10 minutes before killing himself in the 32nd floor hotel suite from which he staged the assault.

First responders and good Samaritans gave first aid to the seriously injured, transporting them to hospitals in ambulances and the beds of pickup trucks.

Dignity Health's three Nevada hospitals coordinated with other Las Vegas-area health care facilities as hundreds of victims of the shooting and people injured as they fled the scene began arriving at emergency rooms, Jennifer Cooper, manager of external communications, communications and marketing for Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican, said in an email interview several days after the assault.

As Catholic Health World went to press, the three-hospital system was determining how best to meet the emerging needs of a grieving city. "We stand ready to serve our community," said Cooper.

Disaster response
Cooper said as reports of mass casualties came in, Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican activated a command center and put in place Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster response protocols. The Dignity Health St. Rose system includes St. Rose Dominican San Martín campus in Las Vegas; and two hospitals in the suburb of Henderson about 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas: St. Rose Dominican Siena and St. Rose Dominican Rose de Lima facility.

According to news reports, six hospitals within Valley Health System, three hospitals within Sunrise Health System as well as University Medical Center of Southern Nevada treated the majority of victims.

Cooper said St. Rose Dominican treated 79 victims across its three campuses. "Shooting injuries were the majority of the cases presenting, but there were others attributed to being trampled or injuries that resulted from trying to escape the venue, such as hand cuts and fractures from climbing fences and jumping to the ground."

As of Oct. 10, three patients remained in critical condition.

Cooper said spiritual care teams comforted victims and their families. Counselors were available to work with staff at Dignity's three Las Vegas-area hospitals, who have been impacted by stress of the mass casualty event and the emotional toll of the violence in their community.

Expressions, prayers
Members of the ministry took to social media to express their solidarity with the victims of the tragedy and their loved ones, to praise the fortitude of first responders and health care workers, and to offer prayers for an end to violence.

On Oct. 3, Lloyd Dean, president and chief executive of San Francisco-based Dignity Health, tweeted a message of prayerful support for "all affected by this horrific act of violence." Dean also used Twitter to thank the St. Rose Dominican caregivers "who selflessly jumped in to treat the wounded. … You are heroes, this day and every day," he wrote.

In a post on his blog, Dr. Rod Hochman, president and chief executive of Providence St. Joseph Health of Renton, Wash., said the system checked in on the well-being of its employees who had attended the music festival. Providence St. Joseph has a data resource center in Las Vegas. Hochman said the system's human resources team and facility leaders offered support to those employees.

It is unfathomable to even imagine "what it must be like to respond to casualties of this magnitude or to lose loved ones in such a senseless act of mass violence," he wrote. Hochman, who is chair of CHA's board of trustees, praised Las Vegas first responders' work as "nothing short of heroic."



Copyright © 2017 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.

Copyright © 2017 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.