LISTEN: Victim, Doctors Describe 'War Zone' Following Shootings In Orlando
A victim and his doctors described a "war zone" following the deadliest mass public shooting in modern United States history.
Dr. Chadwick Smith, a surgeon at the Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Fla.,, said that a little after 2 a.m. ET on Sunday, patients began arriving into the emergency room. It was quickly filled to capacity with people suffering with wounds to the extremities, the chest, the pelvis and the abdomen. Some had small wounds others had large-caliber wounds.
Angel Colon was at Pulse Orlando nightclub when the shooting happened. It's all so fresh, he said Tuesday, that he was hesitant to share his story. But he said he wants people to know his story so they can understand how "heartless" one person could be.
Colon said that as soon as he heard the gunshots, he and his friends ran. But he was shot three times as he ran. He hit the floor. He was trampled. He could hear the shots. He could hear the pleas for help.
"I could just see him shooting at everyone and I can hear the [shots getting] closer, and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me," he said. "And I'm just there laying down and I'm thinking, 'I'm next. I'm dead.'
"I don't know how, but by the glory of God, he shoots toward my head, but it hits my hand. And then he shoots me again and it hits the side of my hip. I had no reaction. I was just prepared to just stay there laying down so he won't know that I'm alive."
Colon described how a police officer saved his life. He said he was thankful, but he remembers the officer grabbing his hands and dragging him over broken glass all the way outside to safety.
When he looked to his side, all he saw was bodies.
Doctors said that patients were brought to the hospital by the "truckloads and ambulance loads." There was so much blood, so much carnage that the hospital went through its entire medical supply. More had to brought from nearby hospitals. Smith said operating rooms were cleaned in about a minute in between surgeries and that they repeated that process many times.
The hospital said 27 victims are still in the hospital. Six of them are in critical condition, and one or two of those are "profoundly ill."
Colon can't walk yet. But, flanked by his brothers and sisters and the doctors who helped him, he said he's thankful that he's alive.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.