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For San Bernardino-Area Hospitals, an Alert Changed Everything: ‘Mass Shooting. This Is Not a Drill’

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The emergency room entrance at Loma Linda University Medical Center on Dec. 2, 2015, shortly after the mass shooting in San Bernardino. (Credit: Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times)

At hospitals across the Inland Empire, nurses constantly monitor computer screens on which ambulance calls typically stream in one by one. They can see what’s happening throughout the region. On Wednesday morning, all was quiet.

Then just after 11 a.m., an emergency flash: MASS SHOOTING. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

Two assailants had opened fire with assault rifles at an office party at a county facility in San Bernardino, leaving 14 dead and 21 wounded. Surrounding hospitals were immediately flooded with police, reporters and grief-stricken families.

For emergency room nurses and doctors, coping with high-pressure situations and patients near death is familiar.

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