LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Las Vegas trauma surgeons recalled details Wednesday of the tragic, life-altering night four years ago when a mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival took the lives of 60 people.

Oct. 1, 2017 was a night that University Medical Center trauma surgeon Dr. Syed Saquib said he will never forget.

"We were already very busy prior to this event in the trauma center, and then around, shortly after 10 p.m. that night, we get a notification that there was a mass shooting on the Strip, and we were going to get dozens of individuals from that incident," said Saquib.

About 100 patients were rushed through their doors in a matter of hours.

"We immediately sprung into action, initiated our mass casualty plan," said Saquib. "Then made numerous phone calls on multiple levels to get as much staff in as possible."

His partner, Dr. Paul Chestovich, was not originally scheduled to be working that night. He dropped everything to be there as soon as Saquib sent him a text message.

"He said, 'Yeah, we're really busy,' and I said, 'Alright, I'm on my way,'" said Chestovich.

In an environment Saquib described as "controlled chaos," UMC staff were able to prioritize the urgency of the patients' needs for triage, and even performed an operation, ultimately saving many lives that night.

"Anyone that came in alive, we were able to save them," said Saquib.

"I'm so proud of the work we did, but at the same time, I'm so angry that happened," said Chestovich.

He said he's still angry it happened because, in his view, the gun violence is something that is and was completely preventable.

"We still deal with patients who are injured by firearms on a nightly basis, and from that perspective nothing has changed. And so it's gonna continue being like that until we get serious about actually reducing the number of people who are injured and killed from firearms," said Chestovich. "It is much better to prevent an injury, it's much better to prevent an accident, than it is to treat it."


That is why Chestovich said he believes something needs to change. He mentioned the state's creation of the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety to prevent injury or death from automobile crashes, and said something like that should be created to combat gun violence.

"We treated over a hundred victims of gun violence that night, but over the year, we treat way more than that," said Chestovich. "So many more patients on a regular basis that aren't involved in a mass shooting, and it continues it hasn't stopped."

Both doctors said they are grateful for the outpouring of support they received from the community in the form of cards, messages, and even food.

"Even though that day was terrible, and we saw the worst of humanity that night, we really fought it and combated it by showing the best of humanity and showing that Vegas, although it may be a tourist town to some, we really have a great community here," said Saquib.

He added, "My heart goes out to ya know, everyone that suffered through this. These folks went to a concert, a very fun concert at that, and then many of them, their lives are changed forever."

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