University Medical Center nurses recall 'chaotic' hours after ma - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

University Medical Center nurses recall 'chaotic' hours after mass shooting

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UMC Medical staff shared their experiences of Sunday's shooting aftermath. (LVMPD) UMC Medical staff shared their experiences of Sunday's shooting aftermath. (LVMPD)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

In the minutes after the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, the hundreds of victims of the attack began to fill valley hospitals.   

University Medical Center ER nurse Kim Connelly said it was a normal Sunday night up until the shooting. 

"It was just regular, heavy, emergency room traffic at that time," she explained. Her shift ended at 10 p.m. and she was getting ready to go home.

"Then our charge nurse started getting some phone calls and messages saying there was something happening on the Strip," Connelly said. "It wasn't maybe ten or 15 minutes after that that we got our first patient." 

She said many of the first patients weren't taken by ambulance, but were dropped off at the hospital by friends, Ubers, Lyfts or taxis. 

"They were brought to the front of the ER and were basically screaming for help," she recalled. "There really is no time to think."

So she and the dozens of other medical staff at the hospital got to work, treating a variety of injuries that were flowing through the door. 

"You're just wondering, How many more? And how fast are they coming?" Connelly said. "And it was pretty much one after the other at that point."

Emergency department nurse Art Cisneros said he saw the shooting on the news. He was off Sunday night, but, like so many other nurses and doctors, he rushed toward that chaos. 

"I knew it was bad when some of the roads were blocked," Cisneros said. "In front of the adult emergency room there was already two nurses, a PA, gurneys and as I ran up to the door, they were trying to get one of the patients out of one of the vehicles that had been shot."

He said inside the hospital was unlike anything he had ever experienced. 

"Not to this level, not to this level," he said, shaking his head. 

But in that horror, the nurses said they saw courage.

"There's one gentleman, he was shot in the leg and I had a wheelchair and I asked him to get in the wheelchair. And he said, 'No take somebody else, they need it more than me, I'll be okay,'" Cisneros explained. 

While the tragedy is nothing anybody at the hospital wanted to experience, UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling said the hospital worked to make sure crews were ready. Just a few months ago, he said a team from an Orlando hospital visited UMC to teach employees lessons they learned in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016.

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