Share story

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Life hangs in the balance as team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, technicians and assistants tries to resuscitate a gravely injured patient.

The scenes described in Tyrone Beason’s Pacific Northwest Magazine story, “Inside Harborview: An elite team fights to mend broken bodies and minds,” were reported over a series of authorized visits to Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department. Patients who are identified in the story and photographs gave permission to publish their identities.

As Beason writes in the story, “The Harborview ED is a world unto itself, where the poor and uninsured are guaranteed to be seen and where renowned emergency burn, neurology, pediatrics and other doctors treat patients with special emergencies from as far away as Alaska.”

The 47-bed department is the soul of the hospital, where teams work on the front lines of health care.

With this project, we hope the public gains a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at Harborview. Harborview doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, social workers, lab technicians and emergency first-responders play a critical role in our community— everyday facing our region’s major trauma cases, afflictions and social ills.

The family of Seattle Pacific University shooting victim Paul Lee, who gave permission to publish the picture of him, has set up a foundation in his honor to raise money for community-based programs focused on mental health.

For more information or to contribute, visit www.paulleefoundation.org.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Registered nurse Dan Ursino lays a comforting hand on Viviane deBros, who was injured in a fall on Mount Stuart in Chelan County. “When patients come into the emergency room, they are frightened, hurt, upset — and sometimes all it takes is just to put a hand on their shoulder and say, ‘I am here for you,’” he says.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Airlift Northwest and EMTs wheel a trauma patient into the Harborview ED. With at least three senior emergency-medicine physicians and about 14 nurses on duty at peak times, the ED can spring into disaster mode at a moment’s notice.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Gerardo Ponce De Leon Ayala can’t hide the pain as nurse Dan Ursino applies ointment to a road rash Ayala got while trying to stop his car from rolling down a Capitol Hill street. He got caught on the car and dragged down the hill. “I was very scared,” Ayala says. “I’m glad nothing happened worse.”

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Technicians prepare a hand for an X-ray. The Emergency Department serviced 66,000 visits in 2013. “We have a really incredible team — from physicians to nurses to medical technicians — it’s an impressive asset the city has,” says Dr. Brandon Backlund, an ED attending physician.