In medical school, students are often taught to compartmentalize their feelings, however some situations are just too gripping and hit too close to home for detached emotions. Imagine if you were called to provide medical care for a large number of life threatening injuries and most every patient was known to you. This has been a sorrowful reality for the physicians and medical professionals near Sandy Hook Elementary.
Below are quotes from physicians directly following the massacre in Connecticut. Warning: Graphic and Disturbing Details.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver said at a press conference, “I’ve been at this for a third of a century and my sensibilities may not be the average man, but this probably is the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues have seen,” Carver said. “I only did seven of the autopsies,” he said.
“The victims I had ranged from three to 11 wounds each. That’s a sample.” Carver called the injuries sustained by all 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School “devastating” and said he believed all of the deceased had been hit more than once.
Just 12 miles down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary School, and charged by the state with handling mass casualty events, the doctors at Danbury knew that if many were hurt, the victims would be coming through their emergency room doors.
At around 10:30 a.m., three patients arrived, one after the other. As a fraction of the medical professionals on hand swung into action, the rest waited tensely.
Overseeing it was Dr. Patrick Broderick, the hospital’s chairman of emergency medicine. Around midday, as the unbearable scope of the tragedy was becoming clear to the world, Broderick received another call. There would be no more patients.
“After some passage of time, it became clear that we didn’t get a massive number of victims brought here,” said Dr. John Murphy, president and CEO of the hospital’s parent organization, the Western Connecticut Health Network.
Eighteen children, six adults and the killer were pronounced dead at the school. Their bodies were still there as of Friday evening, the police combing through bullets and pools of blood to reconstruct a crime scene.
We all grieve and lift our prayers for the parents who lost their children at Sandy Hook Elementary. For others involved in the rescue and recovery, images and emotions will be hard to work through in the coming years. Please pray for these physicians, healthcare providers and first-responders.