Las Vegas-area hospitals like ‘war zones’ after Strip massacre


The bullet wounds that University Medical Center trauma surgeon Dr. Jay Coates saw late Sunday night were to the head, chest, abdomen, legs and arms.

“It was like we were in a war zone,” he said early Monday, weary after catching two hours of sleep following nearly five hours of surgery. “From our patients’ wounds, you could tell a high-powered weapon had been used.”

UMC CEO Mason VanHouweling said he thought an incident where a driver mowed down pedestrians on a sidewalk on the Strip in December 2015 would be “the worst I was ever going to see in my career.”

“This was 100 times worse,” he said. “Unimaginable.”

UMC staffers were among thousands of medical personnel at area hospitals who responded Sunday night and early Monday as it became clear that the event they had long rehearsed for had occurred.

UMC trauma surgeon Dr. John Fildes said his team participates in two major disaster drills each year and does other internal drills, too, Fildes said.

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