Editor's Note: At Pulsara, it's our honor to highlight the stories of our customers and the work they do on behalf of their patients. On November 20th, the UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central team responded courageously to a mass shooting in Colorado Springs. The following article is an excerpt from their story, which was written by Erin Emery, Content Director at UCHealth, and Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, Writer and Communications Specialist at UCHealth. It was originally published on November 27th, 2022, on uchealth.org. Read the full story here.
The calls crackled over the police officer’s radio in the hospital ER: “Club Q … Active shooter …”
It was a little after midnight. Saturday night had been unusually quiet in the ER. But the early hours of Sunday, Nov. 20, were about to test medical pros who train to handle the worst possible emergencies.
Patients in dire need of their help were minutes away.
The police officer had been in the emergency department at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs assisting with a suspected drunk driver when he heard the call about a horrific mass shooting. He immediately gave a heads up to the charge nurse.
She jumped into action, notifying her team throughout the emergency department (or ED as medical folks call it) along with other key people throughout the hospital.
“One of the police officers just told us that there was a shooting and we’re expecting anywhere from 15 to 20 people. We’re hoping it’s wrong, but if not, it’s all hands on deck,” the charge nurse told Kayla Ireland, who was working that night as Memorial Hospital’s nursing house supervisor.
“OK. I’m headed down there,” said Ireland, who had been working upstairs in the hospital.
Until news of the shooting hit, the emergency staff and providers mostly had been helping people who were sick with the flu, RSV and COVID-19. But Memorial is a Level I Trauma Center, the highest level possible. That means that highly trained teams must be ready 24/7 for emergencies of all sorts — including a mass shooting.
The hospital is just 12 minutes and a little over five miles away from Club Q, which had always been a refuge for LGBTQ people. Now club goers who had been enjoying a fun Saturday night were fighting for their lives.