BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A 911 call from Our Lady of the Lake hospital came two weeks ago for an emergency never before seen there: shots fired. The ER went on lockdown. Then it all turned out to be false. The fear, however, was real.
The 911 tapes of the incident, which occurred on August 29, begin with a calm call from an ER staff member who believed a shooter was on the campus. As the caller relays the information to the operator, she has to pause to give instructions to others. At one point, the caller has to urge everyone to be quiet and calm.
"Tell security no one comes in or out of the ER. Lock the ER down y'all. Now," the caller said.
Police reacted quickly, although radio traffic reveals some confusion early on. At one point, officers on scene believed the supposed shooter was barricaded in the room, possibly with victims.
Meanwhile, some staff members inside the ER were texting family. One 911 call comes from a frantic woman worried over her loved one's safety.
"Are there are any fatalities?" the caller asked in a choked voice as the operator assured her that no one was injured.
Despite the apparent chaos, hospital officials say the scene was under control in less than 15 minutes. Baton Rouge Police said a slamming door seemed to be the source of the false alarm. Now, the Lake is examining that frightening moment.
"We know that no team member would have chosen to activate this code without being concerned. That's why we have to take it very seriously," said Terrie Sterling, OLOL's Chief Operating Officer.
OLOL has 11 emergency codes addressing a range of scenarios from a hurricane to an active shooter. Each code has its own protocol, and staff are trained annually. Sterling said on August 29 everyone acted as they should have had the emergency been real.
"We have to praise the nurse who acted despite the fact it wasn't an event," said Sterling. "If you felt unsafe, to protect your team members you did the right thing."
When asked if it was proper protocol for a staff member to send out texts to the public during an emergency, Sterling said it is unrealistic to expect
concerned family to not communicate during an emergency when cell phones are everywhere.
The hospital is currently evaluating their response, as well as that of local law enforcement to see if anything should have been handled differently. So far, Sterling said there are no red flags.
"We would have rather that response than have someone not respond, have an event and there be additional harm to others," said Sterling.
The hospital's review is expected to finish sometime next week.