11/21/2016: Over 300 injuries from excessive force by police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Monday, November 21, 2016 3:00pm
Prepared by Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camps

The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council responded to a mass casualty incident that began at 6pm yesterday evening. Approximately 300 injuries were identified, triaged, assessed and treated by our physicians, nurses, paramedics and integrative healers working in collaboration with local emergency response. These 300 injuries were the direct result of excessive force by police over the course of 10 hours. At least 26 seriously injured people had to be evacuated by ambulance to 3 area hospitals.

Police continuously assaulted demonstrators with up to three water cannons for the first 7 hours of this incident in subfreezing temperatures dipping to 22F (-5.5C) causing hypothermia in the majority of patients treated. Chemical weapons in the form of pepper spray and tear gas were also used extensively, requiring chemical decontamination for nearly all patients treated and severe reactions in many. Projectiles in the form of tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades led to numerous blunt force traumas including head wounds, lacerations, serious orthopedic injuries, eye trauma, and internal bleeding.

Every emergency medical unit from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation responded to the incident and additional ambulances were sent from Cheyenne River Sioux tribe (South Dakota), Kidder County, and Morton County. 3 seriously injured patients were transported directly by ambulance from the scene and another 23 patients were transported by ambulance after initial assessment and treatment in camp. Injuries from the mass casualty incident include:
• An elder who lost consciousness and was revived on scene
• A young man with a grand mal seizure
• A woman shot in the face by a rubber bullet with subsequent eye injury and compromised vision
• A young man with internal bleeding who was vomiting blood after a rubber bullet injury to his abdomen
• A man shot in the back near his spine by a rubber bullet causing blunt force trauma and a severe head laceration
• Multiple fractures secondary to projectiles fired by police

The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council condemns the excessive police violence and calls upon law enforcement to cease and desist these nearly lethal actions. Specifically, we demand the cessation of water cannons in subfreezing temperatures.

Our volunteers performed well under challenging circumstances last night, but we would not have been able to do this without the help of water protectors and local community members who transported patients to our clinic, organized warming spaces, and provided food and tea. We specifically want to thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe EMS services for their excellent response and highest quality care in an unprecedented situation. “They were phenomenal. They recognized the severity of what we were dealing with, it could have been a lot worse” said Jazmine, a volunteer physician from the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council.

Donations for the medical and public health response can be made to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer council at www.medichealercouncil.com/donate.

Water is Life, Mni Wiconi

Signed,

Linda Black Elk, PhD, Ethnobotanist, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Michael Knudsen, MPH candidate, Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council
Noah Morris, EMT
Amelia Massucco, RN
John Andrews, RN
Kristina Golden, EMT, herbalist
Sebastian Rodriguez, RN
Rosemary Fister, RN, MNPHN, DNP Candidate
Rupa Marya, MD, DoNoHarm Coalition, University of California – San Francisco
David Kingfisher, MD, JD, Wichita State University
Jesse Lopez, MD, Heartland Surgical Care
Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu, MD, Aha Aloha Aina
Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH, University of Illinois – Chicago
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, University of Chicago
Elizabeth Friedman, MD
Vanessa Bolin, ALS Paramedic

Contact: Michael Knudsen, Medic Coordinator and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ethno-botanist Linda Black Elk, PhD – medichealercouncil@gmail.com

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