NewsNewsChannel 5 Investigates


Different hospitals for wounded police officer, shooting suspect? This could be why

Posted at 6:17 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 19:29:07-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Did the suspect shot and killed during a gun battle with a Metro Nashville police officer get second-rate medical treatment? It's a question loaded with emotion on both sides that some have debated on social media.

"Our policy is to transport patients to the closest, most appropriate facility within Davidson County with some exceptions," said Nashville Fire Department spokesperson Joseph Pleasant.

"This includes, if their injuries are so acute, they need to be taken to the closest hospital."

In this case, Officer Josh Baker was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, while the suspect - Nika Holbert - was rushed to TriStar Skyline Medical Center.

Vanderbilt is considered a Level 1 Trauma Center -- the best in the city -- while Skyline is classified as Level 2.

By definition, Vanderbilt has the region's top trauma experts, but both are expected to be able to treat gunshot victims.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates dug into the rules, and state EMS guidelines say that every patient should be transported to the "highest level of care" within an area.

However, there is one significant exception: "If a patient's condition becomes unmanageable or exceeds the capabilities of the transporting unit."

In the case of this shooting scene, the Nashville Fire Department would not comment on why EMS personnel made specific transport decisions, citing patient confidentiality.

NewsChannel 5 checked, and Skyline is just 2.8 miles from the shooting scene, while Vanderbilt is right at 8 miles away.

So Skyline would have been the preferred destination if EMS personnel worried that Holbert might not make it to Vanderbilt.