Las Vegas Faced a Massacre. Did It Have Enough Trauma Centers?

Guidehouse's Casey Nolan via Kaiser Health News

Las Vegas is not only a glittering strip of casinos and hotels but a fast-growing region with more than 2 million residents — and one hospital designated as a highest-level trauma center.

The deadly shooting Sunday that killed at least 59 and sent more than 500 people to area hospitals raised questions about whether that’s enough.

Las Vegas is not the only big city with just one such trauma center. Seattle and Nashville, among others, also are in this category, according to the American Trauma Society, a professional and advocacy organization focused on improving trauma care.

Casey Nolan, a hospital consultant and managing director at Guidehouse in Washington, D.C., said what matters most is not the number of high-level centers, but the degrees of coordination across the area’s medical network, including the first responders.

“It’s how well integrated the care is and whether there is a triage system to get patients to the right place in the right time,” he said.

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