At Uvalde, Police Response Wasn't the Only Problem

Medical response was chaotic, uncoordinated, and may have cost lives: report
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022 11:41 AM CST
At Uvalde, Police Response Wasn't the Only Problem
Emergency personnel gather near Robb Elementary School following the shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

The slow response of police to confront the gunman at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has been well documented. But a new examination of video and audio from the scene, as well as interviews, shows that the medical response that day in May also was mired in chaos and may have cost lives, report the Washington Post, ProPublica, and the Texas Tribune. Wounded victims lay bleeding for more than an hour before the police confronted the shooter, but even then a "disjointed medical response" delayed ambulances and medics from getting to the scene. One simple problem: Dozens of police cars, many of them locked, blocked routes to the school, forcing ambulances to scramble for alternate ways. A bigger one: It was unclear who was in charge, leading to confusion all around as ambulances and air transports mobilized.

Might any of the 19 students and two teachers who died have been saved with a quicker medical response? It's impossible to know for sure, in part because autopsy results haven't been released. But the story suggests it's plausible. For example: "Medical helicopters with critical supplies of blood tried to land at the school, but an unidentified fire department official told them to wait at an airport 3 miles away." Some medics pleaded to be allowed closer to the scene, to no avail. "They couldn't figure out who was in command," says Julie Lewis of the air medical transport service AirLIFE. Another example: At one point, six students, one of them seriously wounded, were transported to a hospital in a school bus with no trained medics aboard. Only two ambulances were initially on the scene as the confrontation unfolded, far fewer than needed. Read the full story. (More Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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