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University Hospital calls active shooter response a success

MADISON (WKOW) — Madison’s only Level I trauma center is praising its staff after the emergency room took in victims from the workplace shooting in Middleton, helping them survive.

“We have been, for a long time, saying it’s always a matter of  ‘when’ and not ‘if,’ “said Dr. Ann O’Rourke as she reacted to the active shooting. She’s the trauma medical director at the hospital.

O’Rourke was leading the team on Wednesday when the emergency room was warned to prepare for a possible influx of patients with gunshot wounds.

“I think it actually went really well. It was the middle of the day, so there were a lot of us here,” she said.

An alert went out on the WI-Track system, notifying all Madison hospitals of a possible mass casualty event.

“I allow myself one to five seconds of panic and then I push it down,” she said. “I find that when I stay calm, my team stays calm.”

O’Rourke said, from the beginning, the team of nurses, doctors and others were prepared for the victims they received.

“Knowing what was out there and not knowing what to expect, I think, had everyone on a different edge,” said Dr. Lee Fauscher, the division chief of trauma and acute care.

He, too, counts Wednesday’s response as a success as he vowed his team can be counted on at times of crisis.

“We are here and ready to take care of what happens, wishing it doesn’t ever happen — but knowing we’re here and we’ll respond appropriately,” said Dr. Fauscher.

One other victim was treated and released from St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison.

As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, two victims remained in good condition and one other was in fair condition at University Hospital.

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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