Hospital: Triage at Gilroy Garlic Festival helped save lives

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KRON) — San Jose’s Valley Medical Center and their partner St. Louise Regional Hospital received 11 patients with gunshot wounds Sunday night, all injured at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

St. Louise no longer has any patients but at Valley Medical, there are five patients remaining. 

Three are either in serious or fair condition, the other two did not want to release their status. 

The trauma director told KRON4 Monday night they are all improving, with one going from critical to serious condition.

Victims injured at the festival owe a big part of their survival to the triage work that was done immediately in the field. 

Dr. Peter Coelho with St. Louise Regional Hospital says as soon as shots rang out Sunday at the festival, first responders and bystanders sprang into action

“We had first responders with hospital staff on site who triaged our patients in the field,” Coelho said. “A lot of our injured and gunshot wound patients were resuscitated by community members, several were placed in cars immediately and driven to a hospital.”

St. Louise admitted patients with less acute injuries. 

Those who were critically injured were sent to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

“We’re happy to say that patients who came here to access state of the art trauma care are all doing very well and are improved from when they arrived,” said Dr. Adella Garland with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. 

Garland says because of the high energy weapon the suspect used, patients suffered extensive tissue destruction. 

“That tissue damage may not be visible externally, so you have to have your radar very high to look for every bit of injury. So patients are monitored for a period of time, because what you see initially might not be the extent of their injuries,” she said.

The pair says coordinated care programs like stop the bleed and the medical center’s partnerships increased their patients’ chances for survival

“One of the big gifts we had with this episode was our partnership with St Louise, relationships save minutes and minutes save lives,” she said. 

Garland said this is what trauma centers train for and they hope they never have to use it but unfortunately this weekend they did.

Though their patients physical injuries are improving, the emotional tragedy of all of this is going to take more time to heal.

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