PINEHURST, N.C. — This past Sunday’s mass shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab center put the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in nearby Pinehurst to the test.
The hospital’s emergency room treated six patients from the incident, including the alleged shooter.
“We were alerted that there was a shooting and there were likely multiple victims,” said Dr. Matthew Harmody, of the Moore Regional Hospital.
Harmody was the lead emergency room physician the morning of the shooting.
“We had a fairly full emergency department and at that time had to make arrangements for not bringing any more patients back from the waiting room,” he said.
Three of the patients that arrived were in critical condition. Two of them, including Jerry Avant Jr., were wheeled into surgery. The third critical patient, accused shooter Robert Kenneth Stewart, was stabilized.
Stewart was placed in room number 9 – one door away from Avant, a Pinelake nurse who tried to shield patients from the gunfire.
Workers said they do not differentiate between suspect and victim. “They get the same level of care, regardless of the circumstances that have brought hem here,” Harmody said.
Avant and another patient died. The other victims brought in were treated and released. Stewart was the only one of the group to stay overnight. He was transferred to Central Prison the next day.
Harmody said through it all, his team stayed focused.
“We’re used to working as a team and I thought it went very well on that day – especially when the system is so stressed,” Harmody said.
Doctors at Moore Regional said they were able to get their jobs done because of the quick response by law enforcement and EMS responders.