On the afternoon of June 17, Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC) and North Valley Hospital (NVH) staff responded to a mass casualty event that occurred south of Lakeside. More than 50 patients were injured and transported to nearby hospitals. Of those patients, 36 were treated in the Flathead – 9 at NVH and 27 at KRMC. There were a significant number of orthopedic and neurological injuries that required immediate surgery. The orthopedic injuries included both open and closed long bone and ankle fractures. Two patients remain in critical condition.
“Our medical teams did a tremendous job, performing like a well-oiled machine,” said Pat Rankin, MD, KRH Chief Physician Executive. “Countless staff responded, even those who were not on call.”
The A.L.E.R.T. air ambulance team worked tirelessly, transporting five patients in a 24-hour period, including two from the event. The flight medic stayed on the scene to assist in transporting others by ground. There were surgical specialists who evaluated every patient from this event in the Emergency Department, but the overwhelming number of injuries were orthopedic and neurological. The operating rooms were busy well into the night. Special areas were established for patients’ families to gather and get information about their loved ones. Many employees from multiple departments across both hospitals responded to help, including members of the housekeeping team who came in to keep rooms cleaned for immediate turnover.
“Kalispell Regional Medical Center and North Valley Hospital are very proud of every member of our team who helped all the patients and families during this event,” said Dr. Rankin, “Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families who were involved.”