Badin grad now Las Vegas trauma surgeon recalls night of mass shooting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Las Vegas trauma surgeon and Hamilton Badin graduate Dr. Stephanie Streit talks about her experience in the aftermath of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dr. Stephanie Streit, tired after a late-night of cooking and cleaning, was ready for bed.

But first she checked her Twitter feed.

She read preliminary reports that “something very bad” was happening on the Las Vegas strip on the night of Oct. 1.

Something didn’t feel right, she recalled, and sensed the early reports were “the real deal.”

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So the U.S. Air Force major, a 2002 Badin High School graduate, told her husband she should make the 18-minute drive from their home to the only Level I trauma center in Las Vegas, University Medical Center.

What she found was the area around the hospital restricted because of the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Gunman Stephen Paddock, firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, had killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 who were attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival. About an hour after Paddock, 64, fired his last shot, he was found dead in his hotel room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Seven Las Vegas hospitals handled the shootings, with more than 100 victims being brought to the University Medical Center. When police officers tried to redirect Streit’s vehicle, she flashed her hospital badge and told the officers she was a trauma surgeon.

“Go, go, go,” she says she remembers them yelling.

She described the scene inside the hospital as “controlled chaos.” The 11 beds in the separate trauma emergency room were double bunked.

As Streit walked up to each injured patient, she asked: “What’s your name, and where’s the hole?”

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She worked from 11:30 p.m. Oct. 1 until 12:30 p.m. Oct. 2, then drove home to hug her husband, Dr. Erek Majka, and take a shower. Then she returned to the hospital to complete stacks of paperwork.

At 4:30 a.m. Oct. 2, Streit started to get messages from her family and friends on the East coast asking if she was injured.

Throughout her years of medical training, Streit said she often questioned her ability to work under such a stressful situation. At that moment, she passed the test, she said.

“If anything positive came out of this misery for me as an individual, it’s the knowledge that I can do the job, that I have what it takes, that I can be there to help try to make things better,” she said.

Streit, 33, was asked what lessons she learned from the Las Vegas incident. She talked about the shooter.

“People are evil,” she said. “There is evil in this world. Sadly we have to be prepared for it.”

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Ironically, this summer, a medical team that assisted those injured in the Orlando shooting on June 12, 2016 , visited Streit’s hospital to review its mass casualty emergency plan. Those emergency personnel talked about how they reacted when 49 people were killed and 58 were injured in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Streit said University Medical Center was “very prepared … as well as we could be.”

In the nearly three weeks since the shooting, she has noticed a difference around Las Vegas, her home for the past three months. She said visitors and residents appear to be “a little shaken” and are more cautious. Streit said when friends asked if she wanted to attend a concert recently, she declined.

Streit, whose parents Don and Monica Streit still live in Hamilton, was a senior at Badin High on Sept. 11, 2001, and decided on that day she would join the military. She graduated from Miami University, then attended the University of Cincinnati Medical School, and spent five years doing her residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, including a year as chief resident, and recently finished a two-year trauma and critical care fellowship back at the University of Cincinnati.

She’s attached to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. The Air Force and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas have a partnership through the University Medical Center. She will work in Vegas between two to six years, she said.

She spoke to students at Badin High School this past week.