Palmetto Health and its Columbia-area hospitals are shouldering the load of caring for passengers injured in the Amtrak crash Sunday morning.
There were eight crew members and approximately 139 passengers on board. Two people were killed, and more than 100 were transported to local hospitals.
The two fatalities both worked for Amtrak, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said.
Sixty-two patients were admitted to the Palmetto Health hospital system after the crash, Dr. Eric Brown said at a 1 p.m. press conference. Six people had been admitted for further treatment, including one in critical condition and two in serious condition.
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The rest had been treated and released, Brown said. Most suffered minor bumps and bruises, although more serious cases included “solid organ and head injuries,” Brown said.
Forty-eight were taken to the main Palmetto Health Richland location in Columbia, 10 at Palmetto Health Parkway and four at Palmetto Health Baptist. Many were transported by bus from the scene of the crash.
Brown said the biggest challenge hospital staff faced was the volume of patients coming in at the same time. He praised the work of emergency responders at the scene in performing triage before the patients arrived.
The emergency happened during shift change at Palmetto Health Richland, so there were plenty of staff on hand to take in patients. Many on the night shift stayed on, some even into the afternoon, while those on the day shift arrived early to help.
Lexington Medical Center received 27 patients, mostly with minor injuries. Two people were admitted and everyone else was released, according to the hospital. One of those still being treated has a broken ankle.
The crash site is clear of passengers, said Dr. Steve Shelton with Palmetto Health and local law enforcement officials confirmed.
Palmetto Health released the following statement about patients being served at its Columbia hospital:
“The thoughts of all our team members are with the family and friends of those injured in this accident. Palmetto Health is coordinating with local authorities, Amtrak and the American Red Cross to assist these families in any way possible. Special thanks to everyone who stepped up to assist in this emergency.”