STANDARD PROTOCOL: PHA defends its response to mass shooting amid criticisms

STANDARD PROTOCOL: PHA defends its response to mass shooting amid criticisms

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) yesterday defended its response to a mass shooting on Jerome Avenue last week, insisting that it followed standard protocol in the wake of the deadly incident.

It was responding to allegations made by a woman who appeared as a guest on ILTV’s Beyond the Headlines with host Clint Watson, who claimed emergency services personnel (EMS) failed to assist a victim who appeared to be alive on the scene.

A photo of the bloodied car that six men, a woman and a little girl were in on Jerome Avenue when they were shot on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Six men were shot dead in the bloody massacre, while a 19-year-old woman and a two-year-old girl were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

A graphic video of the aftermath made the rounds on social media, and some bystanders suggested victims could have been saved with quicker response from EMS.

In a statement yesterday, the PHA said it “clarifies that the National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) response to the mass shooting on Thursday, 15 April 2021, was executed in line with mass casualty response requirements”.

“The following steps as required by National Emergency Medical Services were followed: a scene size-up was conducted and backup ambulances were requested,” the PHA said.

“Triage took place immediately on arrival of the EMTs (emergency medical technician) to determine viability and order of treatment and transport. The first arriving team comprised two EMT — one went to assess the female and child and the other went to assess the male victims in the car.

“All of the males were pulseless. One had agonal gasps which is not true breathing but a brainstem reflex that occurs in cardiac arrest.

“The female and the child displayed vital signs and were transported to hospital.

“The six males were pronounced dead at the scene.

“The EMS team that was dispatched to the scene of the mass shooting was debriefed prior to being released from work.”

Government officials, religious figures and social activists have all spoken out in strong condemnation of the violence, while Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle has denied allegations that the victims were “set up” by police.


I don’t want to be critical here, but you guys should do some research. In the press release, PMH admitted the man was in cardiac arrest. What are the standard protocols regarding cardiac arrest as a result of hypovolemia? As for the agonal gasps or agonal respirations, there are two things to consider, clinical death and biological death. Biological death is irreversible and can be caused by incidents like decapitation, burned beyond recognition, decomposition, or rigor mortis. Whereas in clinical death, some cases are reversible if they are caused by heavy bleeding, electrical injury, drowning, reflex cardiac arrest, acute poisoning… Biological death is determined by obvious signs of death, but the only way to determine clinical death is if the patient was placed on a CARDIAC MONITOR and a carotid pulse was checked. Did EMS personnel place a cardiac monitor on the patient to determine an absence of a heart rhythm (bearing in mind a slow faint pulse is not easily detected by inexperienced providers)? Lastly, clinical death begins at the last heart contraction or the last agonal respiration, concluding that the person was not clinically dead when EMS arrived.

Was there a chance the man could have been brought out of his clinical state, only God knows that answer? Or was the large amounts of blood and gasping respirations enough to determined nothing could be done. These questions are not for me or for the public to decide.


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