Would Indiana Hospitals Be Ready For A Las Vegas-Style Mass Shooting?

Oct 3, 2017

Indiana has at least a dozen trauma hospitals which could respond in the event of a mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas Sunday night. But those campuses have varying capabilities.

Only three hospitals are rated as “trauma one”– the highest rating, with doctors specializing in certain types of surgery that may be required after a severe wound.

Indiana Hospital Association Vice President Spencer Grover said level one and two centers have about the same capacity, except that level one facilities often also have a teaching component.

He added the level one and two facilities tend to be in well-populated urban areas, because that’s where they’re needed. Indeed, all three of Indiana’s level one hospitals are in Indianapolis.

“Where you have, usually, bigger populations, higher industry, higher trauma incidence because of transportation or just higher population density, you usually have more need for trauma-like services,” he said.

But there are no trauma hospitals in the densely-populated northwest part of the state or in the entire southeast quadrant of Indiana.

As a result, Grover said, areas such as Indianapolis are better-served following events such as the 2011 collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair, which killed seven people and injured 58 others.

Still, Grover said an increased number of mass shootings in recent years has led to more training in Indiana in all parts of the state.

“All of the 11 coalitions — regions of the state that have disaster planning — have all done active shooters, have all done training on mass casualty,” he said.

But IU Health Methodist Hospital trauma program manager Jill Castor said even the four trauma hospitals in Indianapolis would be taxed by an event with the scope of the Las Vegas shootings.

“Those systems are in place to where they know where to send patients to not overwhelm them,” she said. “Now, in a situation like what happened at Las Vegas, everyone’s going to be overwhelmed regardless.”

Castor said the events in Las Vegas have prompted a reevaluation of procedures in Indiana.

“You can never prepare enough, especially for what happened in Las Vegas,” she said. “So there’s been a lot of talk today at our hospital, and I’m sure at hospitals across the nation and [among] community members on: ‘what would we do?’”

Grover said higher-level centers often have more doctors on call around the clock, in the event they’re needed. He said many hospital systems do not find having a large number of physicians on call financially feasible if they don’t regularly see a significant number of trauma patients.

This story originally appeared on WBAA News.