A Texas trauma surgeon was strangled as he described how he and his team are treating victims of a mass shooting at an Uvalde elementary school Tuesday.
“I think our current focus is taking care of the patients we’ve received, and caring for them in such a way that we can help them, first of all, get out of the hospital, but also that they Be able to live your life to the fullest,” Dr. Lillian Liao, director of pediatric trauma at University Hospital in San Antonio, told CBS News in an interview.
“Talking to the families was a challenge. Apparently they were in shock. But sometimes I feel that in these situations we need to be positive,” she said, choking.
“And the fact that we have the opportunity to speak to these families, we are grateful for that. That we had the opportunity to say that your child made it to the hospital alive.”
Several people are hospitalized after a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at Robb Elementary School, killing 19 children and two teachers.
A hospital executive told reporters that 17 injured children arrived at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, two of whom died. Several patients were taken to University Hospital, which is about 80 miles from Uvalde.
According to CBS, two 10-year-olds, a 9-year-old and an adult are being treated. The condition of an adult and a 10-year-old girl is critical.
Liao said the hospital was prepared for mass casualties following its response to the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, which killed 26 people.
“Unfortunately, we were prepared for this and thought we would get more patients than we would have,” she said.
She said high-velocity firearm injuries, like the victims on Tuesday, were devastating to the body, especially to young children.
“That’s probably why most kids didn’t make it to the hospital alive,” she said.
“This is why every part of the country needs a strong trauma system – whether to coordinate care and get patients to the right facility in the shortest possible time.”
The hospital is ready to save lives “if we have to deal with these mass casualty situations again,” she said.