ORLANDO, Fla. – The trauma surgeons who attended to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting spoke publicly Tuesday about their experiences during a hospital news conference.
Dr. Michael Cheatham said six people wounded in Sunday morning's shooting at Pulse Orlando are "critically ill" at Orlando Regional Medical Center, and another five patients are in "guarded" condition.
Cheatham said 16 other patients are in stable condition.
Angel Colon, who survived the shooting, also spoke at the news conference. Colon said he shattered and broke his bones on his left leg while being trampled by patrons when the shooting started.
"All I could do was just lay down there while everyone was just running on top of me," Colon said.
Colon said he thought he was safe after the shooter left the room, but the gunman soon returned.
"He's shooting everyone that's already dead on the floor," Colon said.
Colon said he witnessed the gunman shoot a woman next to him, at which point, he thought he was going to die.
"He shoots toward my head, but it hits my hand, and he shoots me again, and it hits the side of my hip," Colon said.
Authorities said Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American-born Muslim, opened fire at the popular gay nightclub, killing 49 and injuring 53 others. Mateen was killed in a shootout with Orlando police.
Colon said he just stayed on the floor, hoping that the gunman would think he was dead.
The gunshots continued for about five or 10 minutes, Colon said, before he heard the shootout between the gunman and police.
Colon said he was grateful to the police officer who dragged him out of the club, but the floor was covered in glass.
"So he's dragging me out while I'm just getting cut," Colon said.
Dr. Joseph Ibrahim said the patients were treated for a variety of injuries from small-caliber and large-caliber weapons.
Cheatham commended the doctors and nurses for their dedication and tireless efforts to help the many victims of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
"It was singularly the worst day of my career and the best day of my career," Dr. Chadwick Smith said.
Dr. Joshua Corsa shared a picture of the shoes he was wearing when the victims began spilling into the emergency room Sunday morning.
"Of these shoes, soaked between its fibers, is the blood of 54 innocent human beings," Corsa said in a prepared statement. "I don't know which were straight, which were gay, which were black or which were Hispanic. What I do know is that they came to us in wave upon wave of suffering, screaming and chaos. And somehow, in that chaos, doctors, nurses, technicians, police, paramedics and others performed super human feats of compassion and care. This blood, which poured out of those patients and soaked through my scrubs and shoes, will stain me forever."