Las Vegas Shooting: Nevada Governor Declares 'Public Health and Medical Emergency'

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Monday afternoon declared a public health and medical disaster, allowing licensed out-of-state healthcare professionals to immediately assist hospitals after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which has claimed more than 50 lives and left more than 500 people injured.

“This attack has created a public health and medical emergency in Clark County and the surrounding areas,” states the governor’s executive order directing all Nevada agencies to help the county with resources and protect its welfare.

The order temporarily suspends all necessary statutes and rules to enable licensed healthcare workers employed by a hospital “and in good standing in another state” to practice in Nevada while lending a hand in its disaster response operations.

Las Vegas-area hospitals have been crowded with patients from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, a level-two trauma center and the closest to the Las Vegas Strip, reported on Monday it had performed about 30 surgeries and treated 180 shooting-victim patients, 14 of whom have died.

“This has been an unprecedented response to an unprecedented tragedy,” Sunrise Hospital CEO Todd P. Sklamberg said in a statement. “Our trauma team and all supporting nursing units, critical care areas and ancillary services are all at work this morning in the aftermath of this tragedy – and most stayed throughout the night – to help the victims and to assist their loved ones.”


Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center was not facing a shortage of workers, but with “all hands on deck since last night,” workers needed a reprieve, said Amy Shogren, spokeswoman for the Nevada Hospital Association, which advocates on its member hospitals’s behalf and helped facilitate the order with the governor’s office.

“We’ve had people contact us from Florida, Ohio, Utah, California, ready to come and help us,” Shogren tells Newsweek, adding that Monday was the first time in recent memory that such an order had been granted in Nevada.

The association, which worked with the state on the order's language, reached out to its counterpart, the Texas Hospital Association, in light of a similar order suspending statutes and rules that the Texas Governor's Office issued after Hurricane Harvey. The Texas order was used as the “boilerplate so that we wouldn’t have uphill challenges,” Shogren said.

University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, a level-one trauma center, was “fully staffed” on Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Danita Cohen tells Newsweek in an email.

The governor’s order will remain in effect until terminated, or until the state of emergency is lifted.

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