Lessons Learned in Blood with Mike Shertz, MD

Mass casualty events are rare and thus the mistakes made and lessons learned are often repeated, over and over. In this episode, emergency physician and former Special Forces medic Mike Shertz, MD walks us through the steps on how to be an effective first receiver of mass casualty victims and shares the lessons written in blood from previous events.

Guest Bio: Mike Shertz MD is an emergency physician who spent 13 years as a Green Beret and a Special Forces medic. He is the founder and purveyor of Crisis Medicine which teaches and trains first responders in tactical casualty care. Check out this video that we did together in 2019 on how to place and remove a tourniquet and this one on how to pack a gunshot wound with combat gauze.


This episode is in support of the I AM ALS. I AM ALS was founded by Brian Wallach and his wife Sandra shortly after his diagnosis at the age of 37. He was given 6 months to live, and now 4 years later he is leading a revolution to find a cure. People often refer to ALS as rare, which is not really so. The lifetime risk is around 1 in 300. Since Lou Gehrig was diagnosed 80 years ago, available treatments have been shown to extend life a mere 3 months. I AM ALS supports research, legislation to fast track therapies, and provides critical resources to patients and caregivers. ALS is relentless, and so are they. The question is no longer if we’ll find a cure for ALS, but when. This is an underfunded disease and every little bit makes a difference. We will match donations to I AM ALS up to $5000 — get started here on our Stimulus Donation Page. And for your daily dose of positivity, follow Brian on Twitter.


We Discuss:

  • The First Receiver who is in a singularly unique position as it applies to a mass casualty [03:55];
  • The difference between a hospital’s surge capacity and mass casualty preparedness [05:30];
  • What you might expect from EMS during a mass casualty as compared with a normal day [08:20];
  • The mindset of the medical provider after receiving a patient from EMS [10:32];
  • The value of a field triage score which is a simple way to stratify casualties [12:50];
  • How the success of a mass casualty event for the first receiver has to do with organization, throughput, and saving lives [16:15];
  • Lessons learned from the Christchurch, New Zealand mass shooter incident [29:45];
  • How your response to a mass casualty differs if you’re unsure about the safety of your facility (as was the case in the 2020 Beirut explosion) [41:15];
  • One of the sayings of the Special Forces:  ‘All lessons are written in blood’ [43:27];
  • The question Shertz thinks people should ask of their hospital disaster planners [45:45];
  • And more.


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