Paramedic recalls ‘agonizing’ decisions made during Las Vegas shooting rescue
“People were begging me to take them because they were in so much pain,” paramedic Dean Weber said
By EMS1 Staff
LAS VEGAS — A paramedic who responded to the Las Vegas shooting recalled the decisions he had to make in regard to who could be rescued.
Paramedic Dean Weber said when he arrived on the scene near the Mandalay Bay Casino, there were already dozens of ambulances waiting, according to People.
“That’s when we knew it was really serious,” he said. “The cops were telling me that we couldn’t go to the area yet, because it wasn’t secure. They wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to be targets. So we had to wait for an area to be cleared before we could go help.”
When EMS providers were able to get to the injured patients who were tagged with color-coded stickers, police officers escorted them with drawn guns.
“There were cops all around the perimeter of the area to provide cover in case we needed it,” he says. “I had never been so scared in my life. I just kept thinking the shooting would start up again.”
Weber said the green-tagged patients had minor injuries, the yellow-tagged patients had non-life-threatening injuries, and those with red tags needed to be transported to the hospital immediately. The black-tagged individuals were expected to die.
“We had to take the red-tagged patients first,” Weber said. “But it’s not always that easy. People were begging me to take them because they were in so much pain. One woman grabbed at my ankle and we locked eyes. All she could say was ‘please.’ She had tears all over her face. But she was tagged in yellow, and there were people in red. So I had to say, ‘I’m so sorry. Someone will be back for you soon.’”
Weber said patients were growing more desperate on their second round of pickups.
“They’d been waiting for maybe 20-30 minutes at that point, and they’re hurt and they’re bleeding,” Weber said. “So as you walked past them, they’d be like, ‘Help me, please. Help me.’ There was a man tagged yellow who said, ‘I have a new baby. Please save me.’”
“There were officers helping us triage, but there was still some discretion,” Weber added. “Do I pick up this red tag or that red tag? Which patient do we take? What if we choose the wrong one? It can be agonizing.”
Weber said that patients with green tags suffered injuries such as broken limbs and waited for hours to be transported to the hospital. He added that some of the green patients were with people who had already been transported to the hospital and had no idea if their loved ones were alive or dead.
“When it was over, I just hugged my partner and cried,” Weber said. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I hope that no one ever has to go through it again. It was pure hell.”'