At Highland Park parade mass shooting, doctors went from watching to treating the wounded
Dr. Loren Schechter raced to get his elderly parents and the rest of his family to safety. Then, he raced back to help the wounded, as did his friend, Dr. David Baum.
Dr. Loren Schechter thought at first it was fireworks going off at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade. Then, the tree next to him began shaking.
A gunman’s bullets had struck it.
Schechter raced to get his elderly parents and the rest of his family to safety. Then, he raced back to help the wounded.
Amid victims’ screams and family members pleading for help, Schechter, a plastic surgeon, and Dr. David Baum, his friend, a gynecologist who also was at the parade, helped paramedics triage who was most in need. They tied tourniquets, got the wounded on IVs and moved them to where ambulances could quickly get them to hospitals. Baum performed CPR on one.
All as they worked amid the remains of some already beyond help, hoping no more shots would come.
Schechter says he thought: “This is how I’m going to die.”
Baum downplays what he and his friend, both Highland Park residents, did.
“The story is not about anyone except the people who lost their lives,” he says. “We cannot let this continue.”
Dr. Sheena Gupta McKenzie says she was one of the pediatricians treating the wounded in the emergency room at Highland Park Hospital.
“What will it take for these senseless acts of violence to stop? How do I keep my patients safe? How do I keep my family safe?” McKenzie tweeted.
Most of those wounded were treated at her hospital and others owned by NorthShore University Health System, which would not allow McKenzie or other doctors to speak about their efforts after the mass shooting that’s claimed seven lives.
Robert Crimo III has been charged with murder in the shootings.
Days after the shooting, Baum says: “I’ve always voted, given to some causes and made appropriate donations to candidates. Now, I feel more strongly that is never going to be enough.”
Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.
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