AURORA, Colo. — On the night of the Aurora theater shooting, dozens of victims were transported to area hospitals, including 18 who went to The Medical Center of Aurora.
Those involved say it was chaotic, but the team at this trauma center is extremely proud of the fact that all 18 of those patients survived.
On Wednesday, 10 years to the day after the shooting – the team of doctors, nurses, and medical professionals here gathered on the helipad outside the hospital for a moment of silence to honor the lives lost and the survivors of the shooting.
“Let’s take a moment of silence to remember,” said the chaplain of the Medical Center of Aurora, David Reeves.
It’s still difficult for many of those who were here at the time of the shooting.
“I think this time of year brings it all up,” said Patrick Coleman, who was a nurse in the ICU at the time of the shooting and is now a trauma coordinator.
“It looked like a war zone,” said Tracy Lauzon, director of trauma services. “There was blood everywhere as you can imagine.”
“You don’t understand how somebody could do something like that,” said Brandi Williams, a trauma program manager who was at the time of the shooting the trauma nurse coordinator. “You will never understand the intent behind that to hurt so many people.”
And yet, there was also a collective sense of purpose and calm in the response to such a tragedy.
“As the chaplain said, at the time just seeing everybody pull together like they did was absolutely amazing,” Lauzon said. “We had nurses from other facilities volunteering to come work in the emergency department and the OR.”
“By early morning patients were in beds,” Coleman said. “And were settled into beds in the ICU.”
“A tremendous amount of focus,” said CEO Ryan Simpson, who was acting CEO at the time of the shooting. “Everyone was actually very calm and doing their work with a lot of focus and intentionality and a lot of purpose to take care of our patients.”
“It just speaks volumes to the people we have here,” Williams said. “They go above and beyond what they can do.”
And today, as with all days, it’s not about the nurses or doctors, but about those they serve.
“The thing that I think isn’t always clear is that even the survivors – they carry wounds – some physical wounds and side effects from the injuries for the rest of their lives,” Coleman said. “And, of course, emotional wounds.”
“We’re proud of our identity as a trauma center,” Simpson said.