Amidst the unfolding terror of a gunman—who was revealed to be a former doctor—shooting and setting fires at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, medical workers and hospital staff rushed to protect patients and treat the injured.
Witnesses say staff grabbed a fire hose off a wall "to use as a tourniquet on one victim’s leg," according to the NY Times. Another witness told the Post he saw one wounded physician and "a lot of blood . He come down the elevator. The security guard helped him. I'm going, 'Oh, my God. Oh, my God.'"
On Friday afternoon, a man wearing a white medical-style lab coat wielded an assault rifle and fired upon staff at the Bronx hospital. The shooter, identified as Henry Bello, a former doctor at the facility, killed a female doctor and wounded six others, "three doctors, two med students and one patient," during his rampage on the 16th and 17th floors.
Bello, 45, was also reportedly carrying jars of gasoline, which he set a nurses' station on fire. He fatally shot himself on the 17th floor.
He allegedly held a grudge against a colleague at the hospital, after he was forced to resign from his position in 2015.
The hospital went into "Code Silver" alert for an active shooter situation. Patients and staff were told to barricade themselves in rooms; a set of parents of a newborn locked themselves in a bathroom with their baby in an incubator. EMTs already in the hospital for another incident saw a wounded doctor, shot in the stomach. One told WABC 7 that they applied pressure and then carried him down the stairs.
Patients were led out of the hospital by responding officers, some still in hospital gowns and without their shoes. One said, "Crazy, I’m supposed to be getting spinal chord surgery right now."
An administrative hospital employee, Evelyn Torres-Ferrara, and her husband spoke to the NY Times about how they "watched doctors rushing to stabilize what a co-worker told her were two victims, one who had been shot in the leg and the other who been struck in the neck."
She said the victims had been quickly taken to the first-floor emergency room.
“It definitely helped that the doctors were right there,” she said.
Her husband, Ian Wittenberg, a pediatrician who has worked at Bronx-Lebanon for 17 years, said there were tough challenges ahead.
“A gunshot wound to the neck, there are so many large blood vessels there,” he said. “No one is safe from that.”
A medical student said that a group of doctors rushed to a wounded person, even during the lockdown, "The people who ran out there were really courageous. It’s a big risk that they took, but they did it."
According to NBC New York, of the injured victims, "The most critically injured was being transferred to Mount Sinai for a specialized surgery. Three were upgraded to stable condition on Saturday. They were shot in the head, abdomen, knee, neck and head."
At a press conference on Friday, Mayor de Blasio said, "Our hearts go out to the family of the doctor who passed away and we’re giving both our hearts and our prayers, standing in solidarity with the families of all of those who were wounded and all of those who are fighting for their lives right now. This was a horrific situation unfolding in the middle of a place that people associate with care and comfort - a situation that came out of nowhere. But even in the midst of this horror, there were many, many acts of heroism."