"Killing Has to Stop" Says Parkland Surgeon Who Treated Police Shooting Victims

The doctors and nurses of Dallas' Parkland Hospital Emergency Room didn't expect the mass shooting that rocked downtown Dallas on Thursday night, but they were prepared for the influx of patients. Emotionally, however, the incident has taken a toll.  

There were more surgeons on duty throughout the night than there were officers needing surgery, Parkland officials said at a press conference at the hospital Monday afternoon. "It's routine for us to deal with multiple shooting victims at once," Dr. Brian Williams, the surgeon on duty Thursday night, said.

At 9 p.m. Thursday, Parkland had 300 patients in its emergency room, after the shooting began in downtown Dallas, the hospital was flooded with 134 more. Among those 134 were some of the 16 people who'd suffered gun shot wounds downtown. Two of those who'd been shot were civilians. Fourteen were Dallas police officers — eight from the Dallas Police Department, four from DART Police and two Dallas County Community College District. Five of the 14 treated officers died.

The victims made the night different for hospital staff, Williams said. "The preceding days, of more black men dying at the hands of police officers, affected me," Williams said. "I fit that demographic of individual. But I abhor what is being done to these officers, and I grieve with their families."

Williams said he wished he'd been able to preserve more lives. "I think about it every day, that I was unable to save those cops when they came in here that night," he said. "This killing, it has to stop. Black men dying, and being forgotten, people retaliating against the people that are sworn to defend us; we have to come together to end all this."

Dr. Alex Eastman, the director of Parkland's trauma center and a deputy medical director for the police department, said that the events "rocked some [SWAT] guys to their core who I thought were unshakable."
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young