Doctor reflects on response to 2014 SXSW crash

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Seton’s University Medical Center Brackenridge is preparing for the possibility of more patients along with the spike in visitors to Austin.

Last year, Brackenridge also treated victims from just blocks away. A car crashed into a crowd at South by Southwest last year killing four people and injuring more than 20.

“Clearly there was some anxiety in the air when I walked in. Nobody was sure exactly how many people we were going to get,” said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, medical director for the emergency department at UMC Brackenridge.

Ziebell says being close to the crash may have helped some patients in the response, but there were worries it could hurt it. If the less-seriously injured “walking wounded” came, that could take away resources from those who needed it the most. Ziebell says that didn’t happen thanks, in part, to paramedics on scene.

“For the people who were really seriously injured I think having the trauma center right there gave us 58 minutes of the golden hour to really have them here and stabilize them and work on them,” Ziebell.

The staff trying to save lives also treated the person suspected responsible for taking them.

“When you were looking just two beds away at the horrific nature of what had happened and then knowing that this was the individual who caused all that, I’m sure that that was hard on the staff,” said Ziebell. “But they adapted to it very well and they did a great job at making sure that everyone got the care that they needed.”

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