Category Archives: Colorado (CO) M
Comilla Sasson, MD, MS, is an attending physician at the University of Colorado Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado. Sasson was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan from 2007 to 2010.
I wasn’t even supposed to work that night. I had finished a long day of meetings, and found out at 6:30 pm that my colleague, who had called in sick twice in 40 years, had influenza and he knew it was best not to expose Emergency Department (ED) patients to it. After he called, I remember thinking, “Well, I can just power through until 8 am. Nothing too bad happens on Thursday nights.”
The night began as many other nights do in our ED. Twenty-five of our 50 beds were taken up by inpatients who were waiting for hospital beds to open up. The ED was completely full, with another 10 patients in the waiting room. “Another one of those nights,” I groaned to myself. We were already on “divert” status, meaning that ambulances would bypass our hospital and go to others in town. This should be a relatively easy night, right?
Until we received the call over the dispatch radio at approximately 12:30 am: Shooting at a theater in Aurora. Hopefully the paramedics remembered we were already at capacity and took the patients elsewhere. Nine minutes later, we received a frantic phone call from one of the policemen on scene: Multiple shooting victims and Aurora Police Department just received permission to transport patients to hospitals in the backs of police cars instead of waiting for ambulances. That’s when we realized this was not a gang fight with one or two victims, this was something different.
The first police car showed up at 1:06 am. We raced out to the ambulance bay and started removing patients from the back of the car. The police car looked like a crime scene, with blood splattered throughout. As we were pulling the first two victims out of the car, another police car showed up. And another. And another. In total, we received nine police cars and one ambulance within 45 minutes. Looking out into our ambulance bay with police lights flashing, I realized, this is not like any other shooting I have been involved in. This is radically different.
Congratulations are in order for Sue Birch, R.N., M.B.A., an alum of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. In January, this blog reported that Colorado Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper had nominated Birch to serve as the executive director of that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department administers the state’s Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs, which together cover more than 600,000 residents, as well as a number of other health care programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. On February 14, the state Senate confirmed Birch to the post.
Since 1994, Birch has been CEO of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. In January, she told the Steamboat Today newspaper that a chief focus for her at the Department would be working “to get as much access as possible for all Coloradans” from the newly passed health reform law.
Congratulations are in order for Sue Birch, R.N., M.B.A., an alum of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. Colorado Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper has named her the new executive director of that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department administers the state’s Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs, which together cover more than 600,000 residents, as well as a number of other health care programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Since 1994, Birch has been CEO of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. “Sue Birch has made herself an expert on how to provide medical care in rural areas with limited budgets,” Hickenlooper said in making the announcement. “Her regional and collaborative approach will serve well to address health care issues on a statewide basis.”