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Orlando Mass Shooting Press Conference: ORMC Physicians, Staff and Patient Angel Colon Describe Injuries, Medical Response

Tue June 14 2016 10:39 am
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Dr. Michael Cheatham, ORMC Trauma Surgeon, led a press conference Tuesday morning and reported that 44 patients were initially admitted. As of Tuesday morning 27 patients remain admitted to the hospital — six are in ICU (critically injured) and 21 are “on the floor” where five are in guarded condition and 16 are stabilized.

As of Tuesday morning no patients have succumbed to their injuries from the early Sunday morning mass shooting at Pulse.

Surgical operations continue today, following emergency surgical operations early Sunday morning. Monday there were eight surgical operations. Another eight operations scheduled today.

I’m Next, I’m Dead
Angel Colon, a terror attack survivor, gave his account of the mass shooting attack at a Tuesday morning press conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC).

He was shot three times in the leg and fell because bones were shattered in his left leg. He was trampled by people trying to evacuate the bar.

The gunman shot more people on the floor to make sure they were dead. He saw him shoot the girl next to him. The gunman shot toward his head and a bullet hit his hand, and another hit his hip. Colon then decided to play dead on the floor. A police officer dragged him out toward the Wendy’s across the street. He was dragged through broken glass which cause more lacerations.

He looked over and saw bodies everywhere when he was outside.

Medical Staff Talk About Response
Meanwhile at the hospital, trauma physicians and nurses received patients without advanced notice. Patients were brought in on pickup trucks — many without paramedics accompanying them. Doctors described that the lack of advance notification was challenging, but that the close proximity of the mass shooting scene to the hospital and rapid arrival was also an advantage for the patients.

Dr. Chadwick Smith (ORMC Trauma Surgeon) was the on-call trauma surgeon the morning of the mass shooting. He became emotional when describing not being able to tell loved ones what happened to their relatives.

Usually two operating rooms are active per night. Six operating rooms were opened and active after the mass shooting. Smith evaluated vital signs and wound patterns. Anyone who needed to go to the operating room was held in the Trauma Bay.

EMTs who brought in patients began treating other patients that had already arrived in the Emergency Department. EMTs were helping by starting IVs on patients they found in need of IVs.

Many trauma and medical personnel automatically responded to the hospital on their own initiative from home.

After a lull with the hostage situation, the second wave of patients arrived about 5:00 a.m. Sunday. The second wave was similar to the first wave with the number of injured and they type of injuries.

Dr. Joseph Ibrahim described patients in every corner with wounds to extremities, chest, abdomen and pelvis area — as if they were shot from below, which paramedics described. The shooter probably shot while standing at the feet of the victims.

There was significant amount of tissue destruction with large wounds inside the chest or abdomen.

Orthopedics surgical teams were very helpful — removing tourniquets and taking patients that were not as emergent. Orthopedics specialist then took care of orthopedic injuries.

Gary Parish head of the Emergency Department also described the early morning response. Physicians saw small caliber and large caliber wounds.

Dr. Sandy (?), an anesthesiologist, said doctors were on their 13th procedure by 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Will Havron described a surreal experience even though they are accustomed to seeing gunshot wounds every night. Doctors literally walked from one operating room to the next — repeating operations. Havron did not believe any cardio-thoracic service were needed.

Nurses were there, techs were there, which was instrumental in the success of the team. Some staff were tired after already working the whole week, but responded immediately.

Dr. Michael Cheatham described the mass shooting as a large scale incident as large as any they had anticipated in training. They trained for mass casualty situations “I think it worked,” he said.

The support from the entire team was the reason that doctors “were never at want of anything.” He listed respiratory staff, techs, lab, pharmacy, nursing, x-ray, and administrators. Supplies were exhausted, but logistics personnel were able to immediately re-supply the emergency department and the operating rooms so that physicians and patients were never waiting for necessary medical services.

The operating rooms were expanded to a functionality of two operating rooms to six within about 60 minutes.

Nurse Elizabeth(?) Noblet described responding at about 3:00 a.m. and remembered caring for Angel Colon as her second patient.

Colon replied that he loved the staff at ORMC.

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