BILLINGS — A nurse at the Billings Clinic on Friday recounted a shooting inside the hospital’s emergency department that injured a woman.
Filming took place almost two weeks ago. It was traumatic for the doctors, nurses and patients who were there that night, but Carter Klatt, a triage nurse at the clinic, got a first-hand account of the ordeal.
“Obviously I was scared, I was terrified. It lasted about three seconds, and my next thought was, all the other patients in the waiting room and their safety and what we needed to do to make sure that everyone in the surrounding area was safe,” Klatt said.
It was a traumatic event, but on Friday, Billings School District 2 board members brought lunch and dinner to emergency department crews as a show of support.
Klatt has worked at the Billings Clinic for almost a year. But October 16 was his first day in triage, and it quickly became a day he would never forget when he was approached in the emergency room by a 36-year-old woman from Billings.
“It was actually quite a civil conversation for a few minutes as I started my triage assessment and through the questions I asked and from what I found out as the conversation unfolded was chasing, I realized there was a threat and obviously a gun was raised and then it escalated from there,” Klatt said.
Klatt says the situation quickly became dangerous and he leapt into action while doing his best to stay calm.
“I followed, I guess in my mind, what I thought was the correct procedure. Alerting security and other staff that we had a threat and needed to begin an evacuation and security procedure for us ensure everyone was safe from potential harm,” Klatt added.
Shortly after, the police arrived and evacuated the remaining personnel. Police say Billings’ wife killed herself in the emergency room, then ignored officers’ orders, picking up the handgun again. It was then that she was shot dead by the police. MTN learned the woman was alive when paramedics began working on her.
“We came around the corner and saw what had happened and I guess our training and our instincts took the leap and we went from fear and terror to what we have to do” , added Klatt.
“There are steps we can take to make things better in our community and one of them is to bring people together and work together and we’re both in the people business. We take care of the people. children in the community; the hospital takes care of all of us. And we need to recognize that to contribute more meaningfully in this environment, we need to be side by side,” said school board member Scott McCulloch.
Klatt says the gesture “meant a lot to everyone” who was in attendance that day.
“Just to feel the support of the community, because our job is to care for the sick and injured and to see a bit of that come back to us and show their appreciation means a lot to us. It lifts our spirits and really makes us grateful. of the work that we are able to do and the patient experience that we are able to offer here at the Billings Clinic,” said Klatt.
Neighbors support neighbors and a community comes together after a tragic event.
“I don’t want to see a day where the hospital and the school system have to work together because we have victims. I want us to work together to prevent victims,” McCulloch added.