About the Project
We are fortunate to live in a place where complex emergencies are rare. On June 28th, 2022, the exception occurred, when a botched BMO bank robbery turned into a multiple casualty shooting in Saanich involving police, fire, ambulance, the emergency room, trauma, surgery, and nursing. Though departments held debriefs within their own teams, there lacked a comprehensive opportunity to debrief as a whole group of affected people. Dr. Shuen King and Dr. Dennis Kim sought a SIFEI grant to bring together all those involved, to better understand how the events of the day unfolded, how everyone’s actions affected the outcomes for the 6 injured police officers, and how all services interacted and integrated together. In Dr. King’s words, “we wanted to know where we triumphed and where we were lacking”.
In planning the event, the team wondered how best to set the stage for the debrief. In the end, rather than imposing a formal process, they opted for a more spontaneous and organic sharing of experiences. The dinner was held on June 29th 2023, one year and a day since the event itself. Twenty members of the Victoria and Saanich Police attended, as well as approximately 60 clinicians and staff from emergency, surgery, intensive care unit, transfusion medicine, anesthesia, trauma, simulation, pediatric intensive care unit, administration, as well as community partners such as the BC Emergency Health Services, Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.
An unintended benefit of the event was the validation it provided to all those involved in emergency, health care, and public safety work. “Despite the limitations we face”, says Dr. King, “this was a much-needed lift in morale and an opportunity to make connections with others who share interests and concerns”.
Reflecting on the event at the conclusion of the project, Dr. King shared “In our current setting of production pressure and resource limitation, it was a wonderful opportunity to take a breath, look both backwards and forwards, and envision how we can be better”.