Columbus, OH,
19:38 PM

Handling Traumatic Events Post-Dayton Tragedy

The tragic mass shooting in Dayton hits especially close to home, happening right in our state. In the hours after the shooting, it’s brought up many questions from community members. Things like:

  • “What if this happened here? Are our local hospitals prepared to handle an influx of patients?”
  • “How do I talk to my kids about what they are hearing on the news?”
  • “How do I handle grief?”

OhioHealth physicians and associates have made recent appearances on central Ohio media to answer these questions. You can watch these stories below by clicking on the station logos. 

Are Area Hospitals Prepared?

That was the question from ABC6 reporter Bryant Madderick. Shay O’Mara, MD, OhioHealth system chief for trauma. Dr. O’Mara told Madderick that OhioHealth has detailed plans for a variety of scenarios that make sure staff is prepared and trained. Hospitals also collaborate with EMS teams in the field on plans. Finally, there is collaboration to prepare to work with other hospital systems in the area.

"(Central Ohio has) two adult level one trauma centers, a pediatric level one trauma center and two level two trauma centers. And we all meet regularly," said Dr. O’Mara. "We do coordinated drills throughout the region. We work together to make sure patients are taken care of as quickly and well as possible.”

O’Mara also told ABC6 that after mass casualties around the country, OhioHealth reviews safety plans.

How Do I Talk to My Children?

Children can definitely absorb what they see and hear on the news. And just like their parents can feel worried, so can kids.

"It will be normal to have a feeling of anxiety or feeling stressed out or thinking, 'Wow, what if that were me or my family?'” said Megan Schabbing, MD, OhioHealth medical director of psychiatric emergency services in an interview with 10TV reporter Glenn McEntyre. “But when it turns into a change in sleep, a change in appetite, an inability enjoy things that you once enjoyed. For kids, it can be behavioral problems — social withdrawal, not talking, not reaching out."

Dr. Schabbing said it’s important for parents to have a conversation with their children about the news."The best way to start the conversation is simply, 'What have you heard,'” Dr. Schabbing told 10TV. And then let your child tell you what he or she has heard, so that first and foremost, you can correct any misinformation. The next step is to say, 'Hey, do you have any questions?'"

Grieving After a Tragedy

Many of us - whether we knew the victims or not - have heavy hearts following situations like the ones in Dayton and El Paso.  OhioHealth Hospice bereavement counselor Christie Echard-McBride stopped by Good Day Columbus to share tips for healing.

"It's important to be present with your emotions," said Echard-McBride.  "Reach out to your support system, whoever that may be, to talk about what's going on."

After a tragedy, it can be hard not to internalize your emotions - to think about the victims and the witnesses, what they all saw and went through. 

"You need to rely on coping skills," said Echard-McBride.  "That's something we need to focus on, how do you develop those coping skills.  Is it going on a run?  Is it reading a book?  Is it just disconnecting from everybody for a little while?  But also making sure that people know you're okay as well."

If you or someone you know need to talk to someone, please click here for more information about OhioHealth Behavioral Health Services.