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ER doctor: never seen 'anything like this before'

Story Highlights

• ER doctor: "The injuries were just amazing"
• The victims he saw "didn't have less than three bullet wounds"
• Seventeen of the wounded remained hospitalized Tuesday
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BLACKSBURG, Virginia (CNN) -- It was more like a scene from an episode of "ER" than one from a real-life hospital in a small college town. "Nobody had ever seen anything like this before," CEO for Montgomery Regional Hospital Scott Hill said. "You can never adequately prepare for this level of violence."

On a day where too many died on the scene, many more were taken, injured and bleeding to the hospital. It was a process hindered by the weather. High winds prevented the use of helicopters to move patients, Hill said.

Dr. Joseph Cacioppo, an emergency room doctor at Montgomery, indicated he was stunned when victims began pouring in. "The injuries were just amazing. This man was brutal. There wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in him," Cacioppo said of the victims he saw.

Not all of the injuries were life threatening. "Even, again, the less serious injuries, we saw one patient that had a bullet wound to the wrist, one to the elbow and one to the thigh. We had another one with a bullet wound to the abdomen, one to the chest and one to the head," Cacioppo said.

Seventeen of the wounded remained hospitalized Tuesday, and at least one of those patients was to be released Tuesday, Hill said. All of the nine patients at Montgomery, including three who had been critical, were now in stable condition, he said.

Montgomery in Blacksburg received a total of 19 patients, Hill said.

In addition, three patients remained at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, two remained in critical condition at Roanoke Memorial Hospital and three were in stable condition at New River Valley Medical Center in Blacksburg, hospital officials said.

Seven patients had been released from hospitals by Tuesday, Hill said.

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• Concerned parents should call the dean of students' office at 540-231-3787.
• Anyone with information about the shootings should call the Virginia Tech Police Department at 540-232-8477.
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