Members of the University of Colorado Hospital Emergency Department were honored recently by the American Red Cross Mile High Region. The Emergency Room faculty and staff were recognized for their compassionate and outstanding response to the Aurora movie theater shooting.
After a gunman opened fire in an Aurora movie theater on July 20, the University of Colorado Hospital received 23 patients, more gunshot-wound victims than any other Colorado hospital had ever received from a single incident. Through the efforts of nurses, doctors and staff members, every patient who arrived with a heartbeat, left with a heartbeat. They were presented with the Healthcare Hero Award at the 2013 American Red Cross Breakfast of Champions.
Comilla Sasson, assistant professor of emergency medicine who was one of the attending physicians that night, also was honored as a 2013 Healthcare Hero for her commitment to saving lives in the Denver-area community, both through her work in the emergency room as well as her research and advocacy around improving sudden cardiac arrest survival rates and reducing health disparities.
Her research has identified high-risk neighborhoods where cardiac arrest is likely to occur but access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and bystander CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) are low. Sasson and her research team have worked tirelessly to place lifesaving AEDs and teach CPR skills to build preparedness capacity in these underserved communities. She has championed this issue in the Denver area, and has been instrumental in bringing key players and stakeholders together to help support communitywide efforts to combat sudden cardiac arrest, a leading cause of death in our country.
“During the 2013 Breakfast of Champions, we commemorate the many challenges our state faced this past year and celebrate that, together, we can overcome tragedy,” said Missy DiSalle, organizer of the Red Cross Breakfast of Champions. “Many individuals and agencies stepped up to answer the call for help when it came and displayed courage, compassion and dedication in the face of heartbreaking circumstances. The employees of the University of Colorado Hospital Emergency Department stand as a shining example of this hard-working commitment to being there for our neighbors when they need us most.”