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Expert weighs in on mass casualty incident response following Astroworld tragedy

"I don’t think something necessarily went wrong. It was a series of events that dominoed on each other," said an expert in mass casualty event preparedness.

Investigators and attorneys behind a stack of lawsuits are trying to figure out what went wrong at Astroworld and who is to blame for the catastrophe.

The mass casualty incident ended with eight people dead, two dozen rushed to Houston hospitals and hundreds more treated on the scene.

Dr. Kevin Schulz has over 20 years of experience in emergency medicine, including time with the Houston Fire Department. He is now an associate professor of emergency medicine at UTHealth Houston.

KHOU 11 reporter Stephanie Whitfield asked the disaster medicine expert what went wrong at Astroworld.

“We’ve had multiple concerts, including Astroworld. This is not the first one. We’ve had multiple concerts in the Houston area that don’t end this way. I don’t think it’s that something necessarily went wrong. It was a series of events that dominoed on each other. Unfortunately, it created a difficult situation from a response stand point,” said Dr. Schulz.

Dr. Schulz wasn’t at Astroworld or part of the emergency response. He says planning for an event like that is usually based on what has worked for hundreds of concerts in the past. However, we know now what happened Friday was different. When fans began collapsing in the crush of people, but emergency responders had trouble reaching them in the crowd.

“There were literally dozens of ambulances involved in the response. You can’t stand those dozens of ambulances by for every concert,” he said.

The investigation will reveal if anything could have been done differently to prevent the loss of life. However, in Dr. Schultz’s opinion, emergency responders appeared to do everything they could.

“Unfortunately bad things happen. Bad things happening normally is one or two people something bad happens to. But when you put that many people in one place, it can become catastrophic like this event,” said Dr. Schultz.

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