Florida shooting survivor: We must stay together
Florida shooting survivor Maddy Wilford shares her story.
Sitting between her mother, Missy, and father, David, the 17-year-old Maddy Wilford told a room full of media how grateful she was to life after a gunman opened fire and shot her three times during the Valentine’s Day shooting massacre at marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in parkland, Fla.
“I am so grateful to be here. It would not be possible without the first responders and the great doctors and the love that everyone has sent,” she said.
The high school junior was sitting on a few metres of the physicians at Broward Health North Hospital in Deerfield Beach, which has three operations to her within 48 hours, and the Coral Springs Fire department lieutenant who was part of a team of five that sorted and ran with her to the hospital, 11 km away — an act that may have saved her life.
“I sat on my couch thinking of all the letters, the love, that was passed around. I wouldn’t be here without — I want to show my love and appreciation,” Maddy said.
Maddy Wilford, 17, sitting between her parents, described her recovery after the Florida high school massacre.
Her father is agreed.
“I’m grateful that I’m sitting here next to my daughter alive and well today, and there are a lot of people to thank for Maddy’s life, and four are right on the back of this room, the boys of the Coral Springs Police and Broward County Sheriff’s to pull her out of school and saving her life,” David Wilford said.
Maddy is one of the more than a dozen students who were shot and survived the attack by former classmate, Nikolas Cruz. Seventeen other students, teachers, and coaches died after police say Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 assault-style weapon, shoot more than a hundred rounds of ammunition in the building 12. That building, which was now closed, and is scheduled to be demolished.
Minutes after Maddy was shot, she was treated by Lt. Laz Ojeda, who after finding out her age, a last minute split decision to transport the teen to Broward Health North, which is 20 miles closer than the hospital she was originally intended to be transported. It is a decision that doctors say saved her life.
“When you see someone in such a decompensated shock state, and you make the determination to take them to the nearest trauma center, and the doctor says that this saved her life, it confirms the thought process of myself and the crew, who was on that call,” Ojeda said.
“Maddy came, but she was pale, nonresponsive and in shock,” said Dr. Igor Nichiporenko, Broward Health North Medical director of Trauma Services. “Right away she had a chest tube placement, because her wounds on her chest were very severe, with massive bleeding.”
Despite three bullet wounds and three surgeries, Maddy is now out of hospital and back home with her family. Doctors say that in addition to occupational therapy on her right hand, Maddy physically ready to return to school next week. Doctors call it a miracle, but Maddy’s mother says that her daughter is resilience also potentially saved her life.
“I can spend an hour talking about my daughter, I am a little biased. She is a fighter. She wants to heal, she wants to be better,” said Missy, Wilford.
Maddy knows that her priority is now, and says she is doing exactly that, thanks to the support of her family, friends and the community.
“As my mother said, it is times like these, when I know that we need to stay together. I have a lot of positive messages about what goes on at the school, and I am so glad that we stick together, I make a full recovery and everything goes so smoothly, and that is all what I have to say,” said Maddy, as her grateful father gently kissed her on the head.
Ivonne Amor is based in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @ivonneamor1.