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 2 of their conversation. Part 1 appeared in the February issue.
KK: Jeannine, can you share with us your feeling as a person and a patient at that time when you thought you were safe, you were going to run to safety, but you weren’t safe anymore?
JR: It was like an out-of-body experience. I remember being on the ground. I felt my back, and I looked at my hand and there was blood all over it. My two girlfriends were running a little bit ahead of me at that point. They didn’t know that I had fallen. I was screaming for help, and they ran back to me. Of course, none of us knew what was going on at that point. There was no shelter. We didn’t know if it was a shooter in the field; we had no idea if it was multiple shooters. I felt like I was just watching myself, and at that point, I really thought I was going to die. It was a terrifying experience.
KK: Were you shot just in the back, or did you have other injuries?
JR: I was shot just in the back, and due to that, I had a broken rib and a collapsed lung.
KK: Tell us about your symptoms. Beyond the fear of what happened and facing your own mortality, how did you feel physically?