As the nation struggles to understand the horrors that unfolded Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, one of the biggest unanswered questions is whether anyone could have been saved.
Authorities have left the public with more questions than answers about the mass shooting that killed 21 people, and their timeline has shifted multiple times. At least 17 children were taken to hospital with injuries, although it is unclear how many of them survived.
The latest update, provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Friday, revealed that between the time the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and the time law enforcement officers broke through a locked classroom and killed him 12:50 p.m. killed, more than an hour had passed
According to the schedule provided by authorities, a person called 911 at 12:16 p.m. from Room 112, one of the classrooms where the shooting occurred, and said there were “eight to nine students alive.”
Although it is not yet known whether these students were ultimately among the victims, the injured or the survivors, police and medical experts said that in most cases, the sooner a patient receives some form of medical attention, the better their chances of getting through receives .
according to dr Demetrios Demetriades, professor of surgery and director of trauma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, increases a patient’s mortality rate by about 10% for every 10 minutes of delayed bleeding control.
The head of the LA County-USC Trauma Unit, Dr. Kenji Inaba, similarly said that “bleeding remains the No. 1 preventable cause of death after ballistic injuries,” although he said he could not comment on law enforcement tactics in Uvalde or medical care at the scene.
“After a ballistic injury, every second counts and as soon as possible, victims should be triaged, any obvious bleeding stopped and then transported to the nearest trauma center for final care,” he said.
dr Marc Eckstein, professor of emergency medicine and head of the EMS department at USC, said, “The longer it takes to evacuate patients from the hot zone, the worse their outcome will be.”
“If you like a place [Uvalde] Where your nearest Level 1 trauma center, San Antonio, is 80 miles away, law enforcement’s responsibility is to simultaneously attempt to neutralize the shooter and evacuate the workers, children and teachers as quickly as possible,” Eckstein said. “That was a lesson learned in Columbine and a lesson not learned in the Pulse nightclub shooting [in Orlando, Fla.]where potentially viable patients bled to death.”
Still, Eckstein said he didn’t want grieving families to feel that their loved ones might have survived had authorities responded differently, especially since so much depends on the location and nature of the injury.
The AR-15 rifle used in the shooting causes “devastating injuries to the body,” Eckstein said, not because of the size of the cartridges, but because their high velocity creates immense kinetic energy.
“And then you have children,” he said. “The mortality rate for a child hit by such a bullet will be much higher than that of an adult, and it will be higher than a typical handgun bullet.”
The mother of 8-year-old survivor Adam Pennington said Friday she was concerned by the new timeline released by law enforcement.
“When you’re on site, go with your gut,” said Laura Pennington, 33. “I think everyone was very scared and confused and that’s causing problems. But there should be a set protocol for all of these situations.”
Pennington, who is also a substitute teacher in the district, said her brother-in-law was among those who rushed to the school to help but were kept outside by law enforcement, although officers refused entry.
“I understand they fear for their own lives, but these guys are in tactical gear. They could have attacked the building from all sides,” she said. “He terrorized these children. They had to do more.”
Times editor Hennessy-Fiske reported from Texas, Winton and Smith from Los Angeles.
https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-05-27/police-delays-may-have-deprived-texas-schoolchildren-of-lifesaving-care-experts-say Texas school shooting: Did children die while police waited outside?