Jehovah's Witnesses Miami International Airport bus crash update: One still critical from crash

MIAMI -- One passenger on the bus that crashed into a concrete overpass at Miami International Airport remained in critical condition, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Officials at Ryder Trauma Center and the Jackson Memorial Hospital Emergency Room held a press conference, but doctors declined to release specific details about the types of injuries the passengers sustained. Police initially said the majority of the injuries were facial due to the frontal impact.

One patient was in good condition while three others were in fair condition. Seven passengers have been discharged. One person died at the hospital after Saturday's crash and another died at the scene.

Police have not charged or cited the driver of the bus that carried 32 members of a Jehovah's Witnesses group. Doctors said the hospital has procedures in place to deal with any religious group, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, that does not take blood transfusions.

"That's a major problem in trauma care," said Dr. Nicholas Namias, medical director of Ryder Trauma Center and Chief of the Division of Trauma at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"If the patient is an adult and states that wish, we will take care of them without blood transfusions to whatever extent that they desire," he said.

Although the patients suffered major injuries, Namias said they have requested privacy and he declined to say if any or all of the patients made such a request. If they did, he clarified, doctors would be able to accommodate that wish.

"The alternatives are understanding and accepting that you can allow people's blood count to drop to levels that we used to think were dangerously low," he explained. "And we have learned how to manage people with lower blood levels. We have also learned how to reduce their demands for oxygen because the blood carries oxygen and we can actually take people and sedate them and depress their metabolism to slow them down so much that they demand less and less until they can reform their own blood."

Authorities said the bus driver got lost Saturday when the large bus hit the overpass, killing two passengers and sending 13 to the hospital.

"You can't bring in 13 people and not overwhelm an emergency room," Namias said. "But with the resources at Ryder, we've handled bigger and more. It was like a busy night."

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