While transporting a victim of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one first responder was skeptical of the information he was given. Lt. Laz Ojeda had been informed that the patient, Maddy Wilford, who was shot three times, was a 15-year-old. But Ojeda wasn’t sure, and his concerns saved her life.
Ojeda, a member of the Coral Springs Fire Department that was sent to transport a victim of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, was told to take Wilford to an area hospital that had a children’s facility that was approximately 30 miles from the scene.
He was told that Wilford was 15 years old, but Ojeda had doubts.
Wilford had sustained three gunshot wounds and had lost so much blood that some thought she wasn’t alive.
“I believe she gasped or she moved,” said Ojeda. “She made signs of life.”
As they prepared Wilford for transport, according to Ojeda, “I looked at Maddy, and she didn’t look 15.”
He continued, “We had been told to take her to [Broward Health Medical Center],” a facility that had a children’s hospital on campus.
Broward Health Medical Center was 30 miles away, and Ojeda feared Wilford wouldn’t survive the journey.
“I looked at her, I gave her a sternal rub, and I said, ‘Hey, how old are you?’” said Ojeda.
After asking the question a second time, Wilford replied. “She came around, and she told me she was 17,” Ojeda stated.
He then made a decision that saved her life. “We’re going to Broward North,” Ojeda told his team. “It’s only 10 miles away.”
Wilford was brought to Broward North, where Dr. Igor Nichiporenko took charge of her care. He described her as “pale and not responsive” upon arrival, according to a report by CNN, and that she had “multiple gunshot wounds” to her abdomen, chest, and upper sternum.
Nichiporenko asserts that Ojeda’s decision saved Wilford’s life.
Wilford is recovering, and was in the hospital for “less than seven days,” according to Nichiporenko.
During a news conference, Wilford said, “I’d just like to say that I’m so grateful to be here, and it wouldn’t be possible without those officers and first responders and these amazing doctors.”