Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Hospital's response to disaster is praised
Victims came and then kept coming at Montgomery Regional Hospital.
Two gunshot victims had already arrived at Montgomery County Regional Hospital on Monday morning. One was pronounced dead on arrival. The other was shipped off to Carilion Roanoke Memorial, where the victim died.
It was just the beginning.
About 9:30 a.m., an alert went out.
“It became very apparent very quickly this was not a one-physician mobilization,” David Stoeckle, the chief of surgery, told reporters in the hospital’s parking lot Tuesday afternoon.
Seventeen patients were delivered to the hospital during the next hour or so. One, shot three times, was initially considered one of the worst cases. Then reports came from emergency medical technicians of a student shot through the liver. Another was shot through the kidney.
More than 30 would die Monday. Hospital staffs in Blacksburg, Radford, Salem and Roanoke worked to ensure the rest would live.
“Going through a disaster drill isn’t like this,” Stoeckle said. “This was a disaster.”
He hadn’t seen this many gunshot victims in his career.
“These things don’t happen in Blacksburg,” Stoeckle said.
But it happened Monday, and Stoeckle said everyone responded well. He heaped praise on EMTs and police officers and the students who were brought to the hospital. The doctors seemed especially impressed by the students, who seemed more worried about their classmates than their own injuries.
Tuesday afternoon, eight victims remained at Montgomery Regional, all in stable condition, three in intensive care. One victim remained at Lewis-Gale Medical Center, in stable condition.
Three victims remained at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center in good condition. Two remain at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Both were in serious condition.