"... The first wave arrived with similar injuries: severed limbs, open fractures and puncture wounds from shrapnel. We worked to control patients' bleeding, to "reduce," or set, their badly broken bones in an effort to save their limbs, and to administer medication to help their pain and prevent infection.Read the whole thing (subscription required).
Then the next wave arrived. These people had less obvious injuries but had suffered an insidious threat: Their singed facial hair and sooty mouths alluded to the degree of damage that could be in their lungs—raising concern that subsequent swelling could impede their ability to breathe.
The ER got louder and stretchers continued to arrive. Each new arrival seemed to be accompanied by a new wave of doctors, nurses and support staff from all over the hospital who had come to help. The team that emerged in the minutes and hours that followed was truly amazing. Nurses worked with singular focus on the patients in front of them, support staff hustled to ensure that supplies were available and equipment at the ready, and administrators organized and systematized the care. And as doctors, we kept seeing patients.
As the night wore on, word of incredible acts of kindness emerged. When the Sandy Hook shootings occurred in Newtown, Conn., in December, we had sent a pizza delivery to the staff at a nearby hospital in Connecticut; now 50 boxes of pizza were delivered to our ER, courtesy of those same folks. Our social workers labored tirelessly at bedsides to try to reunite families, struggling to determine who the patients were and to find out if they had family members who had been injured and taken to other hospitals. Chaplains roamed the ER and spent hours in the waiting room, comforting distressed families. ..."