Background: On November 5, 2009, an army psychiatrist at Fort Hood in Killeen, TX, allegedly opened fire at the largest US military base in the world, killing 13 and wounding 32.
Methods: Data from debriefing sessions, news media, and area hospitals were reviewed.
Results: Ten patients were initially transferred to the regional Level I trauma center. The remainder of the shooting victims were triaged to two other local regional hospitals. National news networks broadcasted the Level I trauma center's referral phone line which resulted in more than 1,300 calls. The resulting difficulties in communication led to the transfer of two victims (one critical) to a regional hospital without a trauma designation.
Conclusions: Triage at the scene was compromised by a lack of a secure environment, leading to undertriage of several patients. Overload of routine communication pathways compounded the problem, suggesting redundancy is crucial.
Level of evidence: Prognostic study, level V.
Copyright © 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.