NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — On Saturday night in Norfolk, seven people were shot in one location. As the injured made their way to the hospital, Sentara Norfolk General went into a temporary lockdown.
Sentara System Emergency Manager Patti Montes told 10 On Your Side that whenever there is a mass casualty due to violence, the Emergency Department will lock down.
“We are still receiving and treating patients, we are not denying any care, we are not diverting ambulances, we are not diverting patients who need Level 1 care,” Montes said.
Montes explained that because they rarely have a good grasp on a mass casualty situation in the beginning, they lock the doors, leaving one point of entry for visitors and one for ambulance patients. This is to ensure patient and staff safety.
“We’d rather secure the facility and then find out everything is fine than not secure it and have an assailant show up to try to finish the job,” she told 10 On Your Side.
When the mass shooting happened Montes said the emergency room was already full which is typical for a Saturday night.
The hospital then received more than a dozen trauma patients over two hours, from that shooting and several others in the city.
Declaring a lockdown allowed them to bring reinforcements to the emergency department such as nurses and therapists from other parts of the hospital. People were stationed at doors to help triage and a tent was set up outside for visitors.
In the case of Saturday’s shooting, police were also there for crowd control.
“To help us sort out who was walking up who, we needed to let in right now- who we could ask to wait a few minutes while we go things settled and help us deal with whatever was coming because we didn’t stop being an ED,” Montes said.
The lockdown lasted for about two hours.
Montes told 10 On Your Side if and when the hospital goes on lockdown again, she would ask families and the community for patience.
She wants people to know that Sentara doesn’t want to deny anyone anything and will get information to you ask quickly as possible while doing their best to keep everyone safe.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.