After a gunman killed 12 Colorado movie-goers and injured more than sixty others at the Batman Dark Knight Rises midnight premiere Thursday, KTXS spoke to officials at Hendrick Medical Center about their emergency protocol for mass casualties.
All hospitals are required, by law, to have an emergency operations plan.
Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene is the hub for emergency medical situations, not only for Taylor County but also for 15 other counties.
"There's certain protocols and procedures we need to follow because it's out of the norm," Clinton Taylor, head of Safety and Emergency Management at Hendrick said when talking about emergency situations. "We're not operating like that on a day-to-day basis when we have a mass casualty event very similar to what happened up in Colorado here recently."
The hospital relies heavily on its Emergency Operations Plan handbook. It details protocol for various emergency situations--even for water and power outages.
The hospital also has an emergency operations center.
"This is where our senior leadership will meet and will start coming up with our plan of action," Taylor said.
Hendrick also has an emergency contact system to recall doctors and nurses.
In overflow situations, Abilene Regional Medical Center is the first hospital Hendrick will look to for transporting patients.
Hendrick also has a 25-bed, mobile medical trailer that is always ready to go but has not yet been needed.
In the most extreme situations, the hospital has an alternate care facility plan that could involve using buildings like the Abilene Civic Center.
"The bottom line is: We become the coordinating hub to move patients and to make sure everyone gets cared for," Taylor said.
Hendrick employees participate in exercises at least twice a year to prepare for emergency situations. They participate along with Abilene Regional Medical Center, Dyess Air Force Base and local law enforcement.