On Oct. 1, 2017, attendees of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas were enjoying the event’s closing performance by Jason Aldean when tragedy struck. A single gunman opened fire on the crowd from a room in the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, injuring 851 people and killing 58. The victims were transported by private vehicle, taxi, and ambulance to nearby hospitals, including Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, where Scott Scherr, MD, medical director of the emergency department, and his colleagues prepared to treat the injured.
ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, recently sat down with Dr. Scherr and Jeannine Ruggeiro, a 28-year-old social work graduate student from Sonoma County, California, who was one of the shooting victims that night, to discuss their experiences in the aftermath of the mass shooting. Here is Part 1 of their conversation. Part 2 will appear in the March issue.
KK: Scott, we’ll just touch base about this event Oct. 1 at the Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. You’re the medical director at Sunrise. How many patients did you receive that night?
SS: We saw 215 patients, and all 215 patients were seen within about 90 minutes. The first patient arrived by private vehicle 20 minutes after the incident started.
KK: Did you have the sense what the volume of patients would be or that there was even an event going on?
SS: I was at home getting ready for bed when I got the calls and the text messages, so I just hurried up and got dressed. I was listening to the radio on the way in and heard a report of an active shooter on the Strip with two known fatalities and multiple injuries. I wasn’t expecting this type of magnitude when I showed up 45 minutes after the incident started and saw the ambulance bay full of private vehicles, trucks, Ubers, and taxis.
KK: How were you able to coordinate all of that traffic in the ambulance bay?
SS: Fortunately, Dr. Kevin Menes is a SWAT medic. He was able to go to his car, get his radio, and listen to the police chatter. By the time I got there, he had all the gurneys, wheelchairs, and frontline staff actually sitting and waiting in the ambulance bay for the first patients to arrive.