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Children's Wisconsin Emergency Department and Trauma Center Waukesha Christmas Parade

Correcting misinformation about the Children's Wisconsin response to the Waukesha tragedy


Our teams are so grateful for the outpouring of messages of support and gratitude from the community, recognizing our part in responding to the tragedy at the Waukesha Christmas Parade. It means a lot individually and collectively. 

Sadly, we have also seen some inaccurate stories floating around regarding our response. Out of respect to the families and community, we had hoped these stories would go away on their own, but unfortunately that does not seem to be happening. 

While we won’t link to any of these articles, we want to directly address accusations that are simply wrong. 

  1. Children’s Wisconsin had the necessary staff at the Milwaukee hospital to respond to this tragedy. We are a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and the only Level 1 Pediatric Surgical Center in the state of Wisconsin. Our teams regularly practice responding to mass casualty events and they performed as trained. Many additional team members stopped what they were doing and came to the hospital to help serve these families. Other staff throughout the hospital responded in kind, ensuring teams had the resources needed. At the same time, our Emergency Department remained open to other community needs. Our surgical teams successfully completed eight surgeries that night and two more on Monday.

  2. Our COVID-19 vaccine mandate compliance was greater than 99 percent. This information was published on Wednesday, Nov. 17, on our website and our social media channels. We are thankful that so many of our staff understood the importance of getting vaccinated to protect the kids and families we serve.

  3. After more than a year of low patient volumes, in late summer we experienced a surge of patients with viral illness and other issues. In response to that sudden increase in patients, we have hired more than 350 staff in the last three months. 

We pride ourselves on being a resource to this community and being transparent to those we serve. Our weekly pediatric COVID-19 trend report has shared information regarding COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses in kids, as well as updates on our vaccination requirement. And we provided almost daily updates on the conditions of the kids injured at the Waukesha parade who were in our care. We are disappointed that the accusations made are contrary to the truth and contradict how our community has come together in so many ways to support the families impacted by this situation. 

For more than 125 years, Children’s Wisconsin has existed to provide the highest-level care for all kids in Wisconsin. This is a responsibility core to our founding and one that everyone at Children’s Wisconsin takes to heart, no matter their role. Our hearts continue to ache for the victims and their families of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy.