Police investigate the scene at Mercy Hospital on Nov. 19, when four people were killed, including a police officer, doctor, pharmacy resident and the gunman who opened fire. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Fellow doctor recalls trying to save Tamara O’Neal: ‘It was just a tragic thing’

SHARE Fellow doctor recalls trying to save Tamara O’Neal: ‘It was just a tragic thing’
SHARE Fellow doctor recalls trying to save Tamara O’Neal: ‘It was just a tragic thing’

Dr. Basem Khishfe attended to Dr. Tamara O’Neal as she lay bleeding on the ground in the parking lot, shot multiple times Monday afternoon outside Mercy Hospital.

Khishfe, one of O’Neal’s fellow emergency room doctors, had been hiding in the break room until he was evacuated by police. As soon as he got outside he saw O’Neal, Khishfe said during a phone conversation on Wednesday.

Tamara O’Neal | Provided

Tamara O’Neal | Provided

After telling police that he was a doctor, officers let him address her wounds.

She’d been shot in the chest and the pelvis.

“The one in the chest was bleeding the most. I asked an officer to put pressure on it,” Khishfe said.

Khishfe performed CPR until O’Neal was loaded into an ambulance and taken to another hospital — Mercy’s emergency room was still on lockdown at the time.

Moments later, Khishfe re-gained entrance to the hospital and tried to save the lives of pharmacy resident Dayna Less and Chicago Police Ofc. Samuel Jimenez.

But he couldn’t find a pulse on any of the three shooting victims.

“It was just a tragic thing,” Khishfe said.

After hearing that O’Neal’s ex-fiance was the gunman, Khishfe recalled seeing the shooter, Juan Lopez, on several occasions, including last year at a hospital Christmas Party held at a restaurant in Wicker Park.

“He was a shy, nice guy,” Khishfe said. “We never suspected. Tamara never mentioned feeling threatened by him.”


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