The Fourth of July is a busy day for the staff at UMC


When you work at a level one trauma center, holidays are for other people.

While many Fourth of July celebrations ramp up after sundown, day shift at UMC has already been busy.

“We have seen a lot of motor vehicle crashes,” said Dr. Dale Carrison. “A couple auto-pedestrian injuries as well.”

After 27 years at UMC, Dr. Carrison knows what to expect on the Fourth of July.

“The home fireworks we worry about because one, they start fires. And two, people get burned," said Dr. Carrison.

This year has started out busy. Even on day shift, one ambulance after another has pulled up to the trauma unit.

July 4th is a day off for many in the valley but here, it is all hands on deck.

“Really, we're busy on any holiday,” said Dr. Carrison. “It's not just our residents of Las Vegas but it is all our visitors in town too.”

“Heat exhaustion is a common thing,” said Dr. Luis Medina, who also works at UMC. “People are enjoying themselves going out to the lake. Hiking and believe it or not in the middle of the summer.”

Upstairs, Sammy Houston had other plans for his holiday.

“Watch my grandkids, play with fireworks and stuff,” Houston said. “I planned on being home today.”

Houston is recovering from a broken neck and back. He was a passenger in a car that flipped over.

“I was in the back seat,” said Houston. “Very much an advocate now of wearing your seatbelt.”

Houston credits the medical team at UMC for saving his life.

Elsewhere in the hospital, staff members talk about working the holiday.

“It's really not an issue for me,” said food nutrition assistant Mary Reed. “My kids are grown.”

Reed is serving lunch to roughly 30 patients on her floor. Overall, the hospital will prepare 3500 meals in a day.

“I am just here doing the same thing, pleasing the patients,” Reed said.

As for Dr. Carrison, this Fourth of July will be his last. He is retiring this week but is spending one last shift in trauma, making a difference for the community.

“When you work in a place for a long time, your co-workers become family,” said Dr. Carrison. “I've been here 27 years so I have a really big family, so that is what you miss. You miss the people.”

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