ORLANDO, Fla. — A doctor who treated nightclub shooting victims says the massacre was “the largest disaster that we probably could have imagined.”
Dr. Michael Cheatham of Orlando Regional Medical Center says hospital and trauma centers prepare for disasters, but “you can never prepare adequately.”
Doctors at a Tuesday news conference praised the work of staff at the hospital, where six people remain “critically ill” and another five patients are in “guarded” condition. Cheatham says 16 patients at the hospital are in stable condition.
Cheatham says described great support at the hospital, saying there was “never a time we were without anything we needed.” He also says the facility escalated rom two operating rooms to six within 30 to 60 minutes to care for the flood of patients.
Doctors described “truckloads” and “ambulance-loads” of patients.
Dr. Kathryn Bondani says the first patient that arrived was relatively stable, and the staff hoped that others would be in a similar condition. But the doctors soon got about five patients in much worse shape.
Dr. Chadwick Smith choked up a bit talking about the night. He described calling in additional staff and telling them, “This is not a drill, this is not a joke.”
He says everyone answered “I’ll be right there,” and dozens of doctors and nurses showed up to help.
He says the gunman shot a girl next to him and then shot his hand and his hip. He says he pretended to be dead and the gunman kept firing his gun.
Colon says at times the gunman was shooting people who appeared that they had already been killed.
He thanked the hospital staff and said “I will love you guys forever.”