Medical personnel sprang into action to aid injured Franklin Regional students
Daylight shift had barely begun when hospital emergency rooms started getting warning notices.
Personnel should expect the worst — multiple stabbing victims — from chaos at a local high school.
Within minutes, dozens of doctors and nurses rushed to emergency departments and operating rooms from Oakland to Monroeville, standing guard as victims began to arrive from Franklin Regional Senior High School.
“We didn't know what the number of patients was going to be,” said Dr. Mark Rubino, chief medical officer at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, where doctors treated eight victims. “We knew it was up to eight, so we mobilized all personnel.”
Workers at six hospitals — Forbes, UPMC East, UPMC Mercy, UPMC Presbyterian, Allegheny General and Children's Hospital — hurried to execute emergency response plans, guided by first-responders who assessed the wounded based on their injuries.
It was about 7:30 a.m., a time when most hospitals bustle with workers and doctors change shifts.
That timing proved to be critical, Rubino and others said. At Children's Hospital, night shift workers volunteered to stay to help those coming in on daylight shift.
“Had it occurred at another time, we would have had to call a disaster code to bring in additional staff,” said Dr. Kimberly Roth, physician director of emergency preparedness. Children's treated five patients, discharging three before day's end.
As patients began arriving at Children's, Franklin Regional School Board President Dr. Lawrence Borland, an anesthesiologist, happened to be working in an operating room. Someone called him with the news. He did not treat any of the victims but reached out to parents in the waiting area.
“It looks like everything will be OK,” he told them.
Later, Borland said he felt “drained and shell-shocked,” even though the school holds frequent drills to prepare for disasters.“It's hard to understand why any of this happens,” he said.
At Forbes, 20 physicians and 40 nurses assembled in the emergency department by the time the first victim arrived, Rubino said. Trauma surgeons walked alongside stretchers as victims were wheeled in. There were no screams, no panic.
“It was relatively quiet,” Rubino said. “The students were relatively quiet. They were in a state of shock.”
Forbes trauma surgeon Dr. Chris Kaufmann assessed victims with the help of three anesthesiologists. Emergency physicians intubated patients and inserted central lines to deliver drugs. Other specialists waited to help, including cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons and urologists.
Within 20 minutes, two students were in operating rooms. A third patient followed minutes later. At least 10 other operating rooms remained staffed, prepared for patients.
Rubino said Forbes' designation as a Level 2 trauma center, attained in October, helped the staff.
“You train for this, you prepare for this,” he said. “The efforts made over the past two years to establish a trauma center paid the community well.”
Luis Fábregas is Trib Total Media's medical editor. Reach him at 412-320-7998 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Animal welfare groups see opportunities in dialogue about Vick signing
- Port Authority’s plan for car-free communities slow to bear fruit
- Board members bring business attitude to nonprofit August Wilson
- W.Pa. to observe International Overdose Awareness Day
- Man critical after being shot in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood
- Solarize Allegheny powers up with more communities
- Shaler man charged with homicide, abuse of corpse in McKeesport woman’s death
- Newsmaker: Matthew Opdyke
- Penn Hills fire displaces 10
- Pa. trooper jailed in co-worker’s fatal shooting during training class
- 3 Brentwood council members submit resignation letters