Surgeons Reflect on Trauma of Navy Yard Shooting

Three gunshot victims from last week's Navy Yard shooting were treated at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and trauma doctors told News4 they were ready to handle more victims.

Just before 9 a.m. last Monday, the hospital began receiving calls of an active shooter at the Navy Yard with multiple victims down.

"We had heard various reports of a number of folks who had been injured and they couldn't be evacuated," trauma surgeon Dr. Christine Trankiem told News4.

She said hospital then set up 10 different teams consisting of surgeons, doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, X-Ray technicians and even a chaplain. 

"It was pretty intense at the beginning which is expected because we don't know what to expect and what we're going to get," trauma surgeon Dr. Chadi Abouassaly said.

Trankiem called the scenario "controlled chaos." The hospital staff has handled mass casualty incidents before -- the Metro train derailment in 2009 when doctors treated seven victims and 9/11 when 10 Pentagon victims arrived to the hospital.

"I think to the untrained eye, it might just seem like a big confusing mess," Trankiem said. "But really trauma is very organized and the communication is solid and we're making sure that things are done in an orderly, timely fashion."

Two of the gunshot victims have so far been treated and released -- one woman was shot in the head and hand, and another in the shoulder. A third victim, a D.C. K-9 unit officer, was shot in both legs and remains in the hospital.

"We're glad that we were able to help everyone who came in, but at the same time, there were a lot of losses [at the Navy Yard]," Abouassaly said. 


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Trankiem said MedStar was prepared to take in more patients.

"As trauma surgeons here, knowing that some of those critically injured or all of them went on to become fatalities, but we had the ability here to take care of them ... that was very difficult," Trankiem said.

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