Orlando doctors recount effort to save lives
ORLANDO- For the first time, we are getting a first-hand account of the heroic efforts made to save lives inside the hospital where patients from the Pulse Nightclub terrorist attack were being brought.
50 people including the shooter died, however 53 others were injured and most of them were brought to the trauma center at Orlando Health, just blocks away from the LGBT-friendly club.
"Patients weren't coming by ambulances; they were coming in by the truck and ambulance loads." said Dr. Gary Parish.
Parish was one of the doctors on staff in the emergency room. Within 30 minutes of word about the shootings coming out, extra doctors and nurses started to arrive.
"We rapidly escalated from 3 operating rooms to 6 within 30 to 60 minutes. The entire team worked together." said Dr. Michael Cheatham.
"The fact that the victims were 3 or 4 blocks away made a tremendous impact on patient conditions."
The first wave of victims came within minutes of the shootings. "After we got that initial wave of 20-22 patients, we had kind of a lull while the shooter was barricaded inside." said Dr. Chadwick Smith.
After the barricade situation ended, the emergency room was notified they would be getting 20-25 more patients.
The doctors speaking out were joined by one victim, Angel Colon, who recounted the horrifying details inside the club.
"I can hear the shots getting closer, and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me" Colon said.
"I tried to get back up, but was being trampled. Shattered and broke bones in my left leg. Everyone was running."
"I really appreciate all the love I've gotten. I was hesitant, but this story needs to get out...This hospital is amazing. If it wasn't for you guys, I definitely would not be here. I'll love you guys forever."
Doctors say one or two patients are in intensive care but they are expected to survive.
"It was singularly the worst day of my career and the best day of my career." Dr. Smith said.