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Orlando Health hospital staff continuing to operate on victims

6 surgeries were scheduled for Monday

ORLANDO, Fla. – Doctors and hospital staff at Orlando Regional Medical Center continue to operate on those wounded in what's being called the deadliest mass shooting in the United States. Six surgeries were set for Monday.

One of those people, according to Josean Garcia, is Brian Lopez from Orlando. Garcia said Lopez was shot twice in the stomach and is in critical condition. He told News4ax he hasn't been able to see his friend since the shooting because he's in the operating room.

Garcia said when the shooting happened, everyone started running in different directions.

"We were all together at the same time, but at the moment, I guess, they were in a different room," Garcia said. "There are three different rooms, so the last I heard they were in the bathroom. That was it."

Garcia said after the first round of shootings, the people who were not injured got up and took the opportunity to try and get out. Garcia escaped through a door near the DJ booth. He recalled the gunshots confusing people at first.

"[For] me as a DJ, I used to use those sounds and I didn't think anything of it. But it did sound much more clear than the music, much more live, and when I looked around everybody was ducking, so I definitely knew it was real," he said.

According to hospital staff, 44 people were taken to ORMC, 11 were taken to other area hospitals. Although they could not confirm the casualties at other hospitals, staff said at least nine people died at Orlando Health, although some of those people were already deceased when they arrived.

Garcia said two of his childhood friends died in the shooting: 25-year-old Amanda Alvear and 26-year-old Mercedez Marisol Flores. He said both are from Davenport, Florida.

"Everything that I have is with them. Literally, my whole world," said Garcia. "These girls, I've been best friends with them since middle school."

"I still don't believe that this is happening," said Gilbert Crispin, who has two friends in the hospital. "I still believe that we might go out next Saturday and they're going to be there again. It's unreal, it's like it's not happening. I don't want to cry anymore. I don't want this to hurt me in a bad place. I want to learn from it and the only thing I can really say is that it's really sad that some of the names they were calling, there's no family there for them."

Forty-three people are still at ORMC. Officials said at least one victim was released Sunday night.

Hospital staff said operations went into the overnight hours. Doctors performed 27 operations in the last 24 hours. After identifying the most critical injuries, those victims were taken care of first, and then doctors got started on the non-life-threatening injuries.

"We normally have the capacity to have three operating rooms running, by virtue of being the only level one trauma center in central Florida. We talked with the OR staff, our anesthesiologists, they immediately started calling in extra teams, so we were up to six rooms within about ninety minutes. We brought in our OR staff from the adjacent pediatric trauma center, and from the adjacent women's hospital, so we were able to quickly get six operating rooms up and running to be able to take care of the victims," said Dr. Michael Cheatham

One doctor posted a photo on Facebook of his brand new shoes, not even a week old.

He says the blood you see on them is the blood of quote "54 innocent human beings that came to us in wave upon wave of suffering, screaming and death." He went on to thank all of the first responders and medical staff that remained calm and organized and saved so many lives. 

Garcia says the last two days have been a "living nightmare" and hopes his friend pulls through.

While injured victims await surgeries and recovery, dozens showed up to show their support.

A memorial has grown outside Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, where dozens of flower bouquets are aligned in honor of the Pulse shooting victims.

Many messages were left, but one resonated: More love, less hate.


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