The Second Shift™, the aftermath of the Route 91 Harvest Tragedy in Las Vegas
I am writing this a week past the terrible events of the Route 91 Harvest concert. The immediate onsite and community response to this tragedy makes me proud to have transplanted to the sin city. The personal irony to these events... I spent a great portion of my professional life in the trenches of emergency services - Emergency Nurse, designated as a Trauma Nurse Specialist before such certifications were formalized, Emergency Department Manager, The Health and Medical Member for the Emergency Operations Center of the County I lived in at the time. I was a participant in the Region 13 Weapons of Mass Destruction Planning Committee, assisted in creating a portion of the regions response to a biological agents, spent a significant portion of my US Army Reserve career teaching trauma care to the military first responders, was responsible for creating the framework of a University School of Nursing minor in Trauma and Emergency Preparedness for nurse practitioners.
I have a specific skill set. I was that guy always on the front of the line to deal with the horrors in the first wave. We had just turned off the TV, and heard a set of sirens, remarked that they sounded intense but really thought nothing of the usual background sounds of the city. We live in the area of Desert Springs Hospital so ambulances are always sounding nearby. We had a busy day and went to sleep early. The civilian response to provide immediate transportation to the hospital of the wounded did not create an increase in number or volume of sirens that would disturb ones sleep. We did have a restless nights sleep but did not really understand the cause until 6:30 the next morning when I got out of bed and found a text from a back east buddy asking if we were alright. Of course. Why? Then I checked the online newspapers and went Oh My goodness. I called a number of hospitals and stopped at one to see if anyone needed assistance, but by then all the emergent care had been rendered and no assistance was needed. Kelly was able to don her spiritual sole and make a difference in the lives of some grieving at the hospital - but that is her story to tell.
As I learned in my earlier career, the First Shift of initial responders happens very rapidly, all hands are called in to manage an emergency. These folks respond rapidly and stay until the need is covered or until they are completely exhausted. They take a few minutes break and come right back until the need is met. In the event of October 1st, the city hospitals managed over 600 individual patients with varying levels injury, a greater number of worried significant others, and an unbelievable number of telephone inquiries by family, friends and media all frantic to get answers. This was done with no preparation time as the normal ambulance notification response was superseded by the kindness of strangers putting people in cars and trucks and showing up unannounced at the hospital emergency department doors. When these events occur, there is a huge outpouring of support then some level of exhaustion sets in and the response & support fades over time. In many instances this fade begins just as everyone affected really begins to need the support. The direct victims will be cared for, there will be acute counseling sessions, medication for anxiety, a time will come when the pain is not managed, the anxiety medication cannot be put down without emotional or physical symptoms. The physical challenges of immobilization will become apparent and the standard care will not manage the situation. The number of family members and friends impacted is far greater than the direct victims. The initial resources for families is good but as the reality of life after a serious injury sets in, these family members are "always on duty care givers." A role they never considered, let alone are prepared for, and begin to suffer the stresses of their new existence and need respite. Understand, this need for respite has nothing to do with the degree of love and devotion they has to their injured loved one. Their life has changed radically and they are shocked and fatigued. One significant difference between the Route 91 Harvest tragedy and this event is the number of affected communities across our country and Canada. This ripple effect will likely lead to many families unsupported once everyone gets home. These ripples in society will have such an impact that have yet to be considered let alone understand. The Second Shift™ of care for all will need to come from those here in Las Vegas, and by those who understand the needs of those impacted by this event. SlverArc APN and Knots Unwound are here to be the Second Shift™. We have the experience, knowledge,resources, and skill set to address the whole persons needs in dealing with the long term physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the victims, families, healthcare providers, and first responders. To understand more about how our practice can work for your needs visit our website at silverknot.us or call 702-586-5060 or 702-463-7707.