In-Depth: How hospitals handle crime victims who come in on their own

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – In the aftermath of the weekend shootings, most gunshot victims typically arrive at the emergency room by ambulance. Doctors say it’s a different situation when they show up on their own, or are dropped off at the hospital.

Far different because doctors, as well as the rest of their emergency room department team, have no idea what they’re in for with no prior warning of what’s headed to them.

"Generally if they’re coming through EMS, we at least get the heads up. We can prepare. We can have an area, and some potential equipment in place to provide care," said Grams.

He is the Chair of Emergency Medicine at Rochester Regional Health. Grams explains what it’s like for his department when a victim of a crime just shows up at the hospital.

"Dropping off at the doorstep is pretty disruptive, and so basically people are dropping everything that they need to drop, and subsequently run and take care of the patient," said Grams.

Meanwhile, other patients are affected as well.

"Basically you’re just taking all the patients that you have, assessing, moving people that you can move, and then subsequently mobilizing the health care team to provide that necessary intervention. Again it’s probably the best way to say this is controlled chaos," said Grams.

On top of that, hospital staff continue their duties under these circumstances.

"If we were truly concerned that violence would be coming towards the department, we would notify the law enforcement," said Grams.

He says certain protocols are followed when a patient arrives by ambulance.

"If the patient is critical they will generally go to the closest facility. If the patient can basically wait a little bit longer then they will subsequently often be transferred to the trauma facility, the only one in the city is Strong Memorial Hospital, but we do get a number of patients on the RGH Campus. It’s pretty rare on our Unity Campus, but the majority of our folks that we would see in that situation will be on the RGH campus," said Grams.

We are trying to find out the percentage of how many victims of crime are actually transported by private vehicles, compared to by ambulance. We’ll share that with you as soon as we get an answer.