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June 14, 2016

Surgeons discuss chaos after Orlando shooting

ORLANDO, Fla. — Six surgeons from Orlando Regional Medical Center shared their experience on the night of the Pulse nightclub with CBS News
The  surgeons cared for 44 gunshot victims, many of whom were confused, crying or in shock. 

“They brought the first patient in and then they brought another patient in and then they brought another patient in and they said there were possibly twenty more gunshot wound patients coming in, and at that point I called my backup. It was very chaotic. There were patients that were in pain, there were patients that were crying,” one surgeon said. 

Many patients suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. These gunshot wounds are different from what one surgeon called “civilian gunshot wounds, which are typically slower bullets, smaller bullets. But increasingly we’re seeing gunshot wounds from high velocity military type weapons almost on a daily basis.”

“There was an individual who required multiple operations in the same 24-hour time period because of active ongoing bleeding.” 

When asked if any particular patient sticks out in their mind, one surgeon said they all do.

“I think they all stick in your mind. After something this horrific, going from operating room to operating room, from patient to patient, I don’t think any of us will ever forget this. This is not something that goes away.”

One thing that made an impression on the surgeon's was the countless family members and friends who waited to hear news regarding their loved one.  

“We had hundreds of family members in the lobby of the hospital, all clamoring to know how their loved one was. I think that thing that struck many of us is just the devastation to these families and not knowing for hours and hours because so many of the victims were still inside the club.”

“I’m proud that we were there to be there for them, it’s very humbling.” 

Just three months before the Orlando shooting, the ORMC staff staged an active shooter drill, at the suggestion of the American College of Surgeons.