UMCB Doctors prepare to handle disaster, mass casualty situation

AUSTIN, Texas— Formula 1 races into Austin next weekend and so do the crowds. One group of doctors and nurses is preparing, as they do with any major event, to handle anything that comes their way.

"The most injured people if something were to happen would be triaged to come here," said Dr. Jayson Aydelotte, a trauma surgeon at UMC Brackenridge.

Dr. Aydelotte heads up the hospital's trauma medical team. Should something happen, he and his team are ready.

"The interesting thing about us is half of the trauma surgeons at UMCB are former military people so we've been there, seen that and done that," Dr. Aydelotte said.

Aydelotte works closely with Dr. John Sabra, who is a general surgeon at UMCB. Not long ago, he was appointed Chief Medical Officer for The Circuit of the Americas.

Both doctors credit their military training and what they learned while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

"Preparedness is probably the biggest thing the military brings and it instills that in us," said Dr. Sabra, who is ready to shift into high gear should anything happen at the track during race weekend.

When drivers are out on the track, he'll be inside race command. If something happens, he's able to see what's happening in real time.

"Seconds matter, whether driving the car or responding. It's a 3.4 mile track so we position strategically people around the track," Dr. Sabra said.

COTA has a crash area similar to what you would see in the hospital. If response vehicles relay back that there has been a major injury, Dr. Sabra can have STAR Flight out there and ready to take the patient to UMCB. The flight crews stay on-site during the race weekend.

"We are ready to go. It's been several months of prep time and making sure we have protocols and practice drills in place," Dr. Sabra added.

So how does Austin measure up to other cities and how prepared are we?

"The answer is you don't know until it happens, but our hospital is as prepared as anywhere in the country, if not the world," Dr. Aydelotte said.

Aydelotte and his team are constantly learning what worked and what didn't from other situations around the country, such as the Boston bombings and the movie theater shooting in Aurora.