- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2017

The blood trails on the floor of a Las Vegas hospital told the heroic side of Sunday night’s tragedy, as doctors and nurses raced to save lives after the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

A photo of the blood-streaked floors of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center made the rounds of social media Monday, as did stories and videos of strangers piling victims into their cars to speed them to help.

Locals said University Medical Center, the region’s only Level 1 trauma hospital, was at capacity and cases were being sent to other hospitals such as Sunrise, which reported treating 180 patients Sunday night, including dozens of surgeries.

Overall, at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 injured, either from gunshots, shrapnel or trampling, creating a medical crisis the likes of which doctors said they had never experienced.

“Literally, every single bed was being used, every single hallway was being used,” Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen, a Democrat whose district includes part of Las Vegas, told The Associated Press after visiting one of the hospitals.

Officials said hospital staff were treating people in parking lots because their facilities were so crowded with patients and said the life-saving efforts were nothing short of heroic.

“Everyone who made it into UMC alive was still alive,” said Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison.

On Monday morning, hospitals pleaded for blood donations, with O-negative donors particularly in demand. Uber and Lyft said they would offer free rides to anyone headed to donate blood.

The community responded in overwhelming fashion, with blood donation lines running around the block at every center. Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said wait times in line were up to eight hours.

“Appointments are being made for Thursday and Friday,” he said.

Most of the victims went to Sunrise, the hospital closest to the Las Vegas Strip site of the shooting and a Level 2 trauma center, and to University Medical Center. They then farmed out some cases to other facilities.

“As the only Level 1 trauma center, we do offer the highest level of care, so as things calm down here for us we did then open up to transfers from other hospitals, those hospitals calling us up to say we need a higher level of care,” UMC spokeswoman Danita Cohen told reporters.

Ms. Cohen disputed reports that patients were being turned away. She said the hospital would never refuse to treat a patient in need.

She said the medical center treated 104 patients from the shooting and that four of them died.

Sunrise said 14 of the 180 patients it treated died.

“This has been an unprecedented response to an unprecedented tragedy,” said Todd P. Sklamberg, CEO at Sunrise.

Authorities said the number of victims and deaths could rise.

Military medical facilities at Nellis Air Force Base, just north of Las Vegas, were put on alert, and six Air Force trauma surgeons were deployed to assist doctors and staff at UMC, the Pentagon said.

“This is a mass-casualty situation,” said Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed an executive order allowing doctors from other states the ability to practice in Clark County during what he declared a public health emergency. The order enables doctors “in good standing” in other states to come help at the hospitals.

UMC had some inkling of what to expect, thanks to a training session for first responders that the hospital hosted in July.

“Ironically, the last training we had was from the Pulse nightclub,” Ms. Cohen told CBS News.

The star guest at the training was Dr. Gary Parrish, medical director of Orlando Regional Medical Center, who was on site in June 2016 as the victims from the Pulse nightclub shooting came pouring in.

Orlando and Las Vegas both have about 2 million area residents and a high number of visitors.

On Monday, Orlando officials said hospitals should be prepared for a long ordeal. It was nearly three months after the shooting when the last Pulse victim was discharged.

“Again, the patients are going to be there for a long time,” said Dr. Eric Alberts, director of emergency preparedness at Orlando Health, according to WMFE-FM. “This isn’t just a 10- or 15-hour situation. This is days, months.”

Carlo Muñoz contributed to this report.

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