Doctors scramble to save lives as families and friends pace in the hospital waiting room for news of their loved ones.
Brian Eastridge, MD, the trauma medical director at University Hospital, said the hospital prepared for what was heading their way on Sunday.
“And actually started listening to EMS traffic out of Wilson county, and it was evident then that this was a big deal,” said Eastridge.
University Hospital received nine patients from the Sutherland Springs shooting. He said most of the kids, especially the young ones, went to University Hospital because it is the pediatric level one trauma center.
“It's indescribable, and really you have to revert to your training and do the things the you know are going to help this child.” Eastridge explained, saying he goes into autopilot.
He said the hardest part of the job is when he has to tell families that their loved one may not survive.
“When all the dust settles, there is definitely more of an emotional impact on everybody with taking care of the kids, and particularly if you lose a kid,” he said.
Emily Garcia, just seven years old, died at the hospital.
“You’re a trauma surgeon, you're not supposed to cry,” Eastridge said. “But we all do. And not just the surgeons, the staff. Really it's the kid, the child, they're just different. Sort of your bond to that child, even though they're not yours, is different.”
He said the job is even tougher when you’re a parent.
“Particularly when that child is the age of one of your kids, looks like your kid, goes to church or goes to school just like your kid. You naturally just want to do everything you can for that child just like they're your own. Even when you can't sometimes, you just feel like you failed, and that's a tough pill to swallow,” Eastridge said, now welled up.
Four patients from the shooting are still in the hospital. Their conditions range from good to critical.