Broward Hospital North physicians reflect on treating alleged gunman of Florida school shooting

In the aftermath of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., victims of the incident began streaming into Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Broward Health North. However, unbeknownst to the medical staff, one of those patients reportedly injured during the shooting was the alleged gunman, according to The New York Times.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly killed 17 and injured at least a dozen others after he opened fire at Parkland-based Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday. However, Broward Health North clinicians were required by law to provide care and stabilize Mr. Cruz as they did for the rest of those affected by the incident.

"Dealing with trauma patients, you're always going to have to deal with the bad guys, too. You have to be professional and do your job," Igor Nichiporenko, MD, trauma unit director at Broward Health North, told the NYT. Dr. Nichiporenko provided direct care to several patients injured in the shooting, as well as to Mr. Cruz.

A team of two nurses and two physicians were assigned to treat Mr. Cruz in the ER. Dr. Nichiporenko said Mr. Cruz was brought in through the back entrance "where no families or relatives of the victims could have any access whatsoever. We did it in a way that they wouldn't even know the shooter was in the hospital," the report states.

Dr. Nichiporenko said Mr. Cruz appeared "really flat, [with] no expression" and did not say much throughout the treatment. He said staff members were upset, but that he did not hear anyone express their opinion inside or outside the hospital that Mr. Cruz should not have been treated, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Cruz was reportedly discharged within about 40 minutes. He was escorted to a waiting police car while still wearing his hospital gown. Dr. Nichiporenko said staff members remained focused on treating the wounded teenagers because they "still had a lot of work to do," the report states.

Physicians and staff said they were prepared to treat the 17 victims who arrived at three Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health hospitals because of recent mass casualty training and information they received from physicians and staff at other hospitals involved in treating patients injured during other mass casualty incidents.

To access the full New York Times report, click here.

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