Global & Disaster Medicine

Paramedics, Stress & the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

EMS1

“…..Weber said the green-tagged patients had minor injuries, the yellow-tagged patients had non-life-threatening injuries, and those with red tags needed to be transported to the hospital immediately. The black-tagged individuals were expected to die.
“We had to take the red-tagged patients first,” Weber said. “But it’s not always that easy. People were begging me to take them because they were in so much pain. One woman grabbed at my ankle and we locked eyes. All she could say was ‘please.’ She had tears all over her face. But she was tagged in yellow, and there were people in red. So I had to say, ‘I’m so sorry. Someone will be back for you soon.’”
Weber said patients were growing more desperate on their second round of pickups.
“They’d been waiting for maybe 20-30 minutes at that point, and they’re hurt and they’re bleeding,” Weber said. “So as you walked past them, they’d be like, ‘Help me, please. Help me.’ There was a man tagged yellow who said, ‘I have a new baby. Please save me.’”
“There were officers helping us triage, but there was still some discretion,” Weber added. “Do I pick up this red tag or that red tag? Which patient do we take? What if we choose the wrong one? It can be agonizing.”
Weber said that patients with green tags suffered injuries such as broken limbs and waited for hours to be transported to the hospital. He added that some of the green patients were with people who had already been transported to the hospital and had no idea if their loved ones were alive or dead…..”


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