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CNN NEWSROOM

Doctors and Survivors Speak Together About Orlando Nightclub Shooting. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 14, 2016 - 10:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:29:10] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN HOST: All right Erin, thanks so much. I lost contact with you, lost audio just for a second, but thanks, Erin, so much. And just heard from the House Speaker Paul Ryan, as you know. When we come back we'll talk to a man who knew the gunman back in high school. We'll talk to him about the shooter's admiration for Osama bin Laden. I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Let's go right now to breaking news. A doctor, survivor is about to speak right now here in the hospital behind where I'm standing in Orlando. Let's listen in.

There are two survivors you can see one of them right now approaching the microphone. Our Sanjay Gupta is in the room. Sanjay, the minute they start speaking, of course we're going to listen but what are you seeing as you see this emotional moment with the doctors and two of the survivors in that room?

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well at the end, here is the first time in that all the surgeons are together now probably since that night. They've been operating almost non-stop since then. I'm listening a little bit because I'm here in the room, we also have two survivors from the tragedy, Angel Colon, and Felipe Antonio Marrero Sanchez, are also going to be giving a brief soon (ph).

Then we'll hear from them, hear from their doctors as well, as to exactly what happened, and exactly what happened inside the nightclub. And also what their care was like. I can tell you we work up here (ph) a lot. That from some of the doctors we interviewed yesterday in terms of way (ph) that the information came in slowly. How they determined that hopefully it wasn't just a couple, three, or four patients that were coming in but 44 patients, and the fact that they needed to do 26 operations within about a couple of hours.

So it was -- I think it's pretty remarkable I think. Again, it's the first time we're going to hear from all of the doctors, at least a couple of the patients from their perspective, Erin. So it was pretty emotional. There was a lot of applause when the patients came in the room, the doctors came in the room. And they're just going over a couple of the housekeeping details now. But I think they're going to be getting started here. Doctor Cheatham, the MAC (ph), ended up here looking at images now from the press room. But he is the, sort of the Chief of trauma, he was sort of calling the shots, running the team that night. And I think he's going to be one of the first people to speak.

Doctor Smith, one of the other doctors, he was actually on call, a level one trauma center like this has a doctor on call in the hospital at all times. He was the one who had to fully recognize the magnitude of what was unfolding at that time, Erin.

BURNETT: And Sanjay, as you said this is probably the first time they've been together. Because they've been doing basically back-to- back 24 hours of work. Just really in surgery in operation after operation.

GUPTA: Absolutely. You know, I think it was some 30 hours in a row for a few of the doctors. When I spent time with them yesterday afternoon, early evening, they hadn't left the hospital up until that time. So you know, you can sort of look at the number of hours. But again to hear the applause I think the doctors are getting ready to speak here in just a second.

But you know, I think I mentioned earlier, Erin, you and I were talking. They train for things like this. They do drills, many of the doctors here, along with SWAT team members, along with law enforcement. They do drills, in fact they did a drill similar to a mass casualty incident, something like that, according to what the doctors told me yesterday.

So many of these people have been together in a similar environment, but in a training circumstance. But even with that, they said look, there's nothing that can prepare you for a real-life scenario.

But Erin, I think they're doing some introductions now. I don't know if you can listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: And you understand that at any point you need to leave, we will make that happen.

ANGEL COLON, PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING SURVIVOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So just let us know. We have a number of people that we're going to hear from today. They will open it up for some questions and answers. We will not be able to do one-on-one interviews simply because of the shear volume of press here today. But we can, we will try to make arrangements for some group interviews if you're interested, just work with us and we'll see if we can get that started.

Before we begin anything, I know that everyone wants to know some statistics on patients and patient condition. So I'm going to bring out Doctor Mike Cheatham who can provide that information.

DOCTOR MICHAEL CHEATHAM, TRAUMA SURGEON, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: OK good morning. I apologize for being late, concluding business matter (ph). Looking at the patients that are still in the hospital, it's a very fluid (ph) situation as I think you can understand. So this is the latest update literally as of moments ago.

Of the original 44 patients that were brought to Orlando Regional Medical Center, at the level one trauma center here in Central Florida, we still have 27 patients that are admitted in the hospital. Of these, six patients are in the Intensive Care unit and 21 patients are on the floor. Of these patients, we have six patients remaining in the hospital that are critically ill. We have five that are in guarded condition. And we have 16 patients that we would consider to be stable.

No patients have succumbed to their injuries since the initial nine patients who came to us at the time of the shooting. All of the patients since arrived at the hospital are still with us, and they are steadily improving. There were a number of victims that left the scene of the nightclub. They were trying to get away from the shooting. Several of those patients have subsequently presented to our hospitals.

Yesterday we saw two patients that presented to one of our sister hospitals, Doctor Phillips Hospital. And there was another patient that presented, I understand, this morning to another of our sister hospitals, Health Central Hospital. We anticipate that we may see other victims come into the hospitals over the next few days as they identify injuries that they may have sustained.

Patients continue to go to the operating room for their injuries. In addition to the 28 cases that we did the initial day of the response, yesterday we completed eight further operations and we have another eight operations that are scheduled for today, on the victims of this event. Kim?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So over the last couple of days you may have seen or you may have spoken to a number of our surgeons about their experiences that early morning. And if we haven't heard them say it, they all want you to know that they do not work in isolation. That it takes a team. So before I introduce them, I want to recognize some other very important members of the team.

We have -- and I know it's tight so raise your hand as you -- as I call your name. We have several emergency and trauma nurses with us today. Stephanie (ph) Brown -- Oh, it's Stephanie (ph) Urban, I'm sorry. OK, Stephanie (ph), OK. Let's see, Jessica Friel (ph), Jim Zalnowsky (ph) -- hiding back there. Is Melissa here? Oh, OK, Louis Ville (ph), OK. Julie Warren, Dominique Canon (ph), Michelle Faffler (ph), where's Michelle? Right there. OK.

Megan Moblay?

MEGAN MOBLAY (ph), TRAUMA NURSE, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: Noblay (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: OK Noblay (ph), sorry about that. And Alicia Becktel (ph), who is our patient care administrator, and part of our administration. Alicia (ph) where are you?

ALICIA BECKTEL (ph), PATIENT CARE ADMINISTRATOR, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: I'm right here.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: OK, OK. I'll go on and recognize some physicians who were instrumental in that night. Doctor Sandy Mukerjee. OK, Sandy is the anesthesiologist who was on call that they pull in (ph). Doctor Jeff Sadowsky, and Doctor Charles Hunley, where are you.

DOCTOR JEFF SADOWSKY, CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE TEAM, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: I'm right behind you.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, OK, here's Doctor Sadowsky back here. They are from ORMC's Critical Care Medicine team. Doctor Tim Bullard -- sorry -- Doctor Tim Bullard is an emergency physician, where are you Doctor Tim? OK. We also have -- let me get this -- Doctor Alvaro Bada. Where? Back there? OK.

Doctor Kate Bondani (ph). Doctor Bondani (ph)? OK, down there. Doctor Amanda Stone, OK. Doctor George Ralls. Doctor Christopher (ph) Hunter. James Connick (ph), OK. Doctor Jay Connick (ph), Doctor Thomas Smith (ph). Doctor Christopher Ponder. Doctor Shona Patel, Vascular Surgeon, OK. Did I miss anyone?

OK, all right. And let me introduce to you the guys who were right there on that fateful night. I did want to, and Doctor Gary Parrish, who is the Head of the Emergency Department and you'll hear a little more, a more from Doctor Parrish shortly. On the trauma team, the trauma surgeons are Doctor Mike Cheatham, I know many of you have seen and spoken with him. Doctor Will Havron, Doctor Joseph Ibrahim, Doctor Chadwick Smith, Doctor Howard Smith -- he couldn't be with us today but we want to recognize him. Doctor Lenny Buller (ph), Doctor Matthew Lube, Doctor Mark Levy.

So out of respect for Angel's time we're going to ask that Angel, that you start us off by sharing with us your story. And then we will hear from the physicians and surgeons who will start from the very beginning and tell us how that day unfolded at Orlando Regional Medical Center. So Angel?

COLON: I want to thank you guys for coming out today. I really appreciate it. I want to thank you guys for coming out today. I really appreciate all the love I've gotten in these past three days that I've been here. At first I was a bit hesitant to come up here because it's still fresh to me, this, all this that has happened. But I would love to give my story out so everyone can know what is going on now in this community. And how some people are just so heartless. And how we're treated.

But on Sunday morning, early morning, we were just having a great time. We're always there you know, having a drink. It was just shortly after 2:00. We're saying our goodbyes, I'm hugging everyone, it was a great night. No drama, just smiles, just laughter. And I was talking to -- the last girl I was talking to and I don't know where I -- we just hear a big shotgun.

We just, we stopped what we're doing and then it just keeps going. That happened and we just grabbed each other and we started running. And unfortunately I was shot about three times in my leg, so I had fallen down. I tried to get back up but everyone started running everywhere, I got trampled over and I shattered and broke my bones on my left leg. So by this time I couldn't walk at all. All I could do was just lay

down there where everyone was just running on top of me trying to get to where they had to be. And all I could hear was the shotgun. One after another. And people screaming, people yelling for help. By this time, this man, he goes into the other room, and I can just hear more shotguns going on.

[10:45:20]

I thought I was a little safe at this time because you know it's giving everyone time to tackle him down or get him down. But unfortunately I hear him come back and he's shooting everyone that's already dead on the floor, making sure they're dead. I was able to peek over and I can just see him shooting at everyone.

And I can hear the shotguns closer and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me. And I'm just there laying down, I'm thinking, "I'm next. I'm dead." So I don't know how but by the glory of God he shoots towards 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. And he's just doing this for another five, ten minutes. He's just shooting all over the place. By this time he goes up to the front, and I think that's when he's battling against the cops.

I just hear shotguns going all over the place. And I'm looking up and some cops -- which I wish I can remember his face or his name because I'm -- to this day I'm grateful for him. He looks at me, he made sure that I'm alive. And he grabs my hand and he's like, "this is the only way I can take you out." I'm like, "please carry me because I'm in pain right now." I couldn't walk or anything.

So he starts to drag me out across the street to the Wendy's. And I'm grateful for him but the floor is just covered in glass. So he's dragging me out while I'm just getting cut. My behind, my back, my legs. And I don't feel pain but I just feel all this blood on me from myself, from my other people. And he just drops me off across the street. And I look over and there's just bodies everywhere. We're all in pain.

And we were able to get to the ambulance. They brought us over here. And the way that you guys have taken care of us in this hospital is amazing. If it wasn't for you guys I definitely would not be here. Every morning, in the middle of the night, the afternoon, you guys are always there. And I really appreciate that.

And I will love you guys forever for doing that for me.

(CROSSTALK)

COLON: (SPANISH)

(CROSSTALK)

[10:50:50]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Instead of taking questions now, we're going to -- we'll have our medical team will explain what was happening on the inside of the hospital as this was -- as this horror to plake outside (ph). So Doctor Parrish? You were, you are Head of the Emergency Department here. So unfold the story for us. What happened?

(CROSSTALK)

DOCTOR GARY PARRISH, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: I am the Medical Director of the Emergency Department here at the ORMC. And I -- sorry, Gary Parrish -- and again, I am the Medical Director of the Emergency Department here at ORMC. If you don't know, our Emergency Department here is a very busy, active, 75- bed academic center where we train emergency medicine residents as we train pharma and other residents.

I did happen to be working clinically in the Emergency Department Saturday night, overnight, Sunday morning. I was scheduled actually, to leave at 3:00 in the morning. Around 2:00 or so, we got word that there were some shootings. Now we have a very busy trauma service, so getting shootings is not anything terribly unusual. But we didn't know quite what was about to hit us.

So about 2:00 or so, we got notice of the patients coming in, and brought those in. We work in teams in the Emergency Department. Doctor Bondani (ph) was the other attending physician who was working with me in the Emergency Department that night. He was actually stationed in the trauma bay. Of course due to the extent of the injuries here, we all took care of these patients. But I want Doctor Bondani to describe a little bit because she was there actually before I got there initially.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Doctor Bondani, first and last name.

KATHRYN BONDANI, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: So like Gary said, we got essentially a call that said we had some gunshot wounds coming in. We didn't know exactly how many we were going to get. Doctor Stone and I, the senior resident on, went to the trauma bay to get ready for the patients to start coming in. And our first patient was relatively stable, awake, and talking to us. And we thought maybe they're all going to be like this, and that would be great.

And then we quickly got two or three more that were very critical in nature. Several of our other senior residents came into the trauma bay as well as Doctor Parrish, to start helping us triage the patients. The trauma team, Doctor Smith and his awesome residents came in and started helping us kind of figure out who was sick, who was the sickest, and what we needed to do.

We quickly got about five patients and that was a lot for us and we thought maybe that was going to be it. And then they started lining up in the hallway. They weren't being brought in by ambulances, there was no paramedics coming in and giving us report and dropping them off. They were being dropped off in truckloads and in ambulance loads where our amazing nurses and techs were putting them on stretchers and rolling them into us. And telling us that another patient's here, another patient's here, another patient's here.

And quickly our trauma bay became full to capacity and we had to move people out. So Doctor Smith, and Doctor Parrish, and I started using the residents and quickly figuring out who was the sickest and who could move out of the trauma bay to make room for somebody else. So that we could triage and treat everybody. And in a matter of 30 minutes I think we had multiple surgeons coming in the door to help us out.

I saw dozens of nurses who I knew were not on that night, who showed up. I saw techs coming from everywhere. We had x-ray in there, we had blood in there, we had everybody in there trying to figure out who was sick and who wasn't. And we just started one-by-one moving through and trying to figure out who needed to go where. And just going one-by-one and figuring them out.

And I think that Doctor Smith was really the kind of, team leader. Who helped us kind of triage and move from patient to patient.

PARRISH: Let me just make a couple of comments. We in our area, as in many metropolitan areas, have a very advanced EMS system. And fortunately they give us advanced notice for patients that are coming in. So that helped greatly in preparing our personnel and our resources. The difficulty in this case was that there was really no advanced notice at all. Because of the proximity.

Now that was great for the patients, them being close. But it made it very difficult for the medical staff and the nursing staff to take care of these patients because they essentially were showing up without any notification at all. And we really didn't know what their injuries were until they were brought into the trauma bay.

[10:56:20]

We have a fantastic trauma service. We have a very collaborative and wonderful relationship with our trauma surgeons. The trauma surgeons that were here called in backup quickly and they arrived unbelievably fast. So that was really fantastic as this was an emergency position (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

CHADWICK SMITH, SURGICAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT DIRECTOR, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: Can you hear me? My name is Chadwick Smith. I'm the Surgical ICU Director here at Orlando Health, and I was the attending trauma surgeon on call that night. I got a call from the Emergency Department resident, she called me on my cell phone -- that's kind of unusual -- and said that there's multiple gunshot wounds coming. And I went down to the trauma bay and just as Kate said, the patients just started coming.

One came, then another came, then another came. And the first patient, as she said, was shot and needed to go to the operating room, but had stable vital signs. The next patient was not as lucky. And I quickly realized that I needed to call backup. I called -- Doctor Ibrahim was the backup trauma surgeon that night -- I called him. And then more patients continued to come.

I called Doctor Cheatham and then as -- once they got there, the flow did not stop. And so I began to call my other partners, Doctor Havron, Doctor Levy actually called me. And he was on call for pediatric surgery at Arnold Palmer Hospital. And offered to help. I said please come, please come, we need your help. I then got a hold of Doctor Levy and then started calling the residents.

You can imagine calling someone at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning. When you get a phone call from work, you know, some people don't have their phones on, some people have them in the kitchen. But I think almost every person that I called answered the phone. I said this is not a drill, this is not a joke, we have 20 to plus gunshot wounds coming in. I need you here as fast as I can.

And every time the answer that I got was I'll be right there. After that, after making those phone calls, again quickly they arrived at the Emergency Department. And I was on the phone with the Operating room, Doctor Mukerjee quickly flexed up. We usually run about two ORs at night if we -- but we got in personnel, nurses, CRNAs, staff from all over the organization, quickly to get these patients in the operating room.

I want to say that, looking out here today, as crowded as this is, this is about the level of crowdedness that it felt in the Emergency Department that night. Add in people in pain, people worrying about their loved ones, people not knowing where their loved ones are. And we're trying to help them all.

Quickly we got a couple patients up to the operating room. Again, our first patient, he needed to go to the operating room but he was stable. There were, quickly thereafter, probably four to five patients that came in that we were unable to save. And then there were several that came in and -- that needed operations almost immediately. And they got taken up.