Are Jacksonville hospitals prepared for mass casualty incident?

UF Health doctor says Trauma Center would know what to do, be ready to respond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The victims just kept coming -- that’s what hospitals in the Las Vegas area say was their reality in the aftermath of Sunday night’s mass shooting.

With 59 dead and 527 injured, every bed was full.

News4Jax wanted to get answers about whether hospitals in the Jacksonville area could handle a similar mass shooting. 

One doctor at UF Heath explained how the hospital prepares. 

UF Health Assistant Professor of Surgery Dr. Brian Yorkgitis said if a mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas happened in Jacksonville, people at the Trauma Center would know what to do and be ready to respond. 

“We train every month for a mass casualty incident," Yorkgitis said. "Our operating room, our staff is ready to go."

Yorkgitis said the emergency rooms in northeast Florida could handle more than 1,000 injured. UF Health can take are of about 100 trauma patients, with doctors starting on the worst of the injured. 

“We put our front-line providers to start treating those who are injured the most, to those who have life-threatening injuries, to those who really can be waited and treated," he said. "We have staging areas in the hospital. We have a map design for such an incident, and we also rely on our local providers."

Yorkgitis said UF Health regularly trains for disasters and mass casualties with local first responders on a regular basis. He said they’re fully prepared to take on any deadly situation. 

Yorkgitis also told News4Jax that the on-call head of hospitals in Las Vegas actually trained at UF Health.

Doctors also said that during a mass shooting situation, one of their main goals is to make sure the death toll numbers do not go up -- making sure those entering the hospitals alive, leave alive. 

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