Benjamin Cunningham, MD, was performing surgery at Medical Center Hospital when he learned several people had been injured in a shooting spree across Odessa, Texas, and nearby Midland, Big 2 News reports.
The Aug. 31 shooting killed seven people and wounded at least 22 others, according to CNN.
Dr. Cunningham, an orthopedic surgeon, was on call for trauma at the Odessa-based hospital. "We quickly had a discussion and prioritized which patients might go first. We obviously want to save people's lives first and then try and save their arms and legs if we can," he told Big 2 News, a local ABC affiliate.
Most — if not all — of the patients were severely injured, Dr. Cunningham said. Although Medical Center Hospital is one of the busiest trauma centers in Texas, it was the first time in his 20-year career he had seen damage to that extent.
The hospital's medical staff sprang into action in a way that Dr. Cunningham described as a "symphony," with good communication and adrenaline helping them through continuous hours of operations.
They were responsible for about 24 shooting victims, and many people came in to help.
"There's not much you can do to necessarily stop bad things, but at least there's a way that you can act and take action and make the world better," Dr. Cunningham said in an interview with Big 2 News. "And I think that's probably the therapeutic component as a physician, or nurse, or [physician assistant]. That's probably how we deal with it."
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