Doctor who treated Florida shooting victims: 'When is it going to stop?'
Posted February 16, 2018 12:41 a.m. EST
(CNN) — The victims were pale and terrified. Some were in tears, others didn't say a word. Some were afraid they were dying, others were already gone.
As doctors and nurses came face to face with the carnage from the Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead, they put their feelings aside and rushed to save lives.
Medics in three area hospitals -- Broward Health North, Broward Health Medical and Broward Health Coral Springs -- treated more than a dozen people injured when a gunman targeted Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The first hours were a scramble for the doctors, with victims coming in almost at the same time.
"It was challenging because you don't see young kids being shot and dying in front of you," said Dr. Igor Nichiporenko, medical director of trauma services at Broward Health North.
The bullets pierced their chests and abdomens. They hit their arms, legs and wounded vital organs.
"It was very organized, we worked as a team," Nichiporenko said. "People knew what to do."
Another trauma surgeon, Dr. Ivan Puente, said medical professionals moved seamlessly but "when things start slowing down is when we begin to feel."
There was anger and sadness, but when a patient survives, anxiety turns into satisfaction, Puente added.
On Thursday, seven people remained hospitalized. Three people were in critical condition and three others were in stable condition.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students, families, teachers and all others who were impacted by the horrific shooting," Broward Health System said in a statement.
"We deeply appreciate the work of our local EMS responders and we are dedicated to caring for victims and their families during this time."
The hospitals were better equipped, doctors say, after they treated an influx of patients wounded when a man fired at travelers at the Ft. Lauderdale airport last year.
Medics and nurses know their training can help them save lives, but the fear still persists.
"I'm relieved to have a system that works and fearful that it would happen again," Puente said. "It happened last year, when is it going to stop?."