ORLANDO, Fla. (WSVN) — Doctors at Orlando Regional Medical Center said Tuesday that 27 patients remain in the hospital, with six in critical condition, after the attack on a Orlando nightclub that killed 49 people. One doctor said he would be surprised if the death toll didn’t rise.
The doctors were joined by Angel Colon, who survived the attack after being shot multiple times.
“I’m next, I’m dead” – Angel Colon
“Out of nowhere we just hear a big shotgun,” said Colon. “We stopped what we were doing and it keeps going. That happened. We grabbed each other, we started running and, unfortunately, I was shot three times in my leg, and I had fallen down. I tried to get back up, but everyone started running everywhere. I got trampled over, I shattered and broken my bones in my left leg.”
Colon said that the shooter, Omar Mateen, was shooting everyone on the floor to make sure they were dead. He said he was lying on the ground and Mateen shot towards him, hitting his hip and hand.
“And I’m looking up and some cop, he looks at me and makes sure that I’m alive,” said Colon. “He grabs my hand, and he’s like, ‘This is the only way I can take you out,’ and I say, ‘Please carry me, because I’m in pain right now.’ I couldn’t walk or anything, so he drags me across the street to the Wendy’s. I’m grateful for him.”
Later, 20-year-old survivor Patience Carter told the story of how she wound up crammed in a bathroom stall with others as the shooter fired into the stalls. She said she heard Mateen on the phone with 911 when he was in the bathroom.
“I made peace with God” – Patience Carter
“The reason why he’s doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country,” said Carter. “And from that conversation, from 911, he pledged his allegiance to ISIS.”
Carter, who is from Philadelphia, said she came to the club with two other women, one who was killed and another who is recovering. She said she was having the time of her life before the shooting. She and the other people in the stall escaped after police blew a hole in the wall.
“The last thing that I heard before the police said, you know, ‘Move away from the walls,’ because obviously they were about to bust through again, he said, ‘Hey, you’ to someone on the floor inside the bathroom and shot them, shot another person,” said Carter.
She said that her friend told her another person shielded her from the gunshots.
“And then shot another person who happened to be directly behind me who, I’m told, through the eyes of Tiara, shielded me with their own body to make sure that I wasn’t hit,” said Carter, “and I don’t know who that person is, I don’t know the name of that person, but if I could, if they’re somewhere watching, Thank you, thank you for saving my life, literally. If it wasn’t for that person shielding me, it would have been me shot and I wouldn’t be sitting here today.”
Trauma Surgeon Dr. Chadwick Smith praised the staff at the hospital for coming together to respond to the tragedy.
“Just about every person I called answered the phone” said Smith. “I said, ‘This is not a drill, this is not a joke, we have 20 plus gunshot wounds coming in, I need you here as fast as you can,’ and every answer I got was, ‘I’ll be right there.’”
Smith said the victims arrived in two waves. “Then we got word from [the Orlando Police Department] that there would be another 20-25 continuing to come, and that’s when the second wave of patients came, and it was basically a repeat of the first.”
Smith noted the hospital’s proximity to the site of the shooting may have saved lives. “It is very fortunate that this happened two blocks away,” said Smith, “and it is very fortunate we have the team to pull together like we do.”
“I don’t even know how I’m alive today” – Angel Santiago
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