Orlando Regional Medical Center is a Level 1 trauma center so they're used to seeing gunshot victims. But one trauma surgeon said based on the magnitude early Sunday morning, it was a "somewhat surreal experience."
An Orlando mass shooting survivor who was treated at the hospital also spoke Tuesday. He was shot a total of five times, trampled over, and then dragged to safety.
"All I could hear was shots, people yelling for help," survivor Angel Colon told reporters.
Colon described the scene inside Pulse nightclub as he was lying on the floor. He had been shot in the leg, hand and hip, and couldn't walk. He and dozens of others were dragged out and then rushed by truck loads to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
"Our amazing nurses and techs were putting them on stretchers and rolling them into us, telling us another patient's here, another patient's here, another patient's here," Dr. Kathryn Bondani said.
Dr. Chadwick Smith, the attending trauma surgeon on call that night, called in more staff to help.
"I said, 'this is not a drill, this is not a joke. We have 20 plus gunshot wounds coming in. I need you here as fast as you can.' Every time, the answer I got was, 'I'll be right there,'" Smith said.
In total, 44 victims came in that night with gunshot wounds big and small to all areas of the body.
"It was somewhat what you would think of as a war scene, trauma bays were very full, we had patients in every corner," Dr. Joseph Ibrahim said.
Medical staff also filled every corner, including doctors, nurses, techs and support staff. All say patients were evaluated and treated quickly.
"We literally went from operating room to operating room," Dr. Sandy Mukerjee said.
Dr. Smith says Sunday was the worst night of his career and the best because of how the team responded.
Colon is grateful and feels lucky to be alive.
"I love you guys," he told the doctors.
Doctor at Orlando hospital: This is not a drill