How southeast MO hospitals prepare for a mass shooting

In wake of Orlando mass shooting, Heartland hospitals prepare

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Hospitals across the country plan for the worst no matter the disaster, including mass shootings like the one in Orlando.

Heartland hospitals will always train for the unimaginable.

Officials from both Saint Francis Medical Center and Southeast Health said the biggest thing it learned from the Orlando shooting is balance and communication.

"Incident command becomes such an important piece," Robert Grayhek, director of Patient Logistics and Trauma Services, with Saint Francis Medical Center said.

Grayhek said communication between local hospitals is critical in mass casualty situations.

"Because we have the daily operation and the incident itself and we have to manage that piece," Grayhek said.

"So, as I think about that, I think you got a full ER, your staff's busy and now you're gonna have 25 patients. And how quickly are you going to do that? And how are you going to step that up?"

That's why both Saint Francis Medical Center and Southeast Health teamed up with other health care providers to form a Southeast Missouri Regional Health Care Coalition.

Director of Emergency Services Linda Brown with Southeast Health said this tragedy confirmed the importance of a unified response.

"Between everyone, health care, EMS, law enforcement, and the different levels of law enforcement and the way they were able to collect that information collectively," Brown said.

Moving forward both hospitals said it knows wounds don't heal immediately, especially the lasting emotional and psychological damage from such events.

"There is also a need for those employees to have an opportunity to kind of debrief and to visit with each other and to process and talk about what they've seen and or what they've been a part of," Brown said.

"And sometimes that will happen very easily at the end of the shift but sometimes employees will have difficulty after words if they don't feel they can talk about what they participated in."

Health care providers train together at least twice a year on all-hazard situations and said it's continuously evaluating its procedures to be ready when needed.

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