Orlando doctor recalls night of Pulse nightclub shooting one year later

Posted at 11:43 PM, Jun 12, 2017

Thousands of people made their way to Pulse Nightclub Monday, observing the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that killed 49 people.

RELATED: More coverage of the Pulse attack

Many people have their own memories of that tragedy. Many people were impacted in different ways.

But, doctors at Orlando Regional Medical Center experienced something that only the hospital staff will ever see.

One of those doctors, in residency at the time, spoke to WPTV Monday.

Dr. Nicholas Sakis now lives in California but says his mind was on Orlando and the dozens of people he treated June 12, 2016.

“I could sit here and recount almost every minute of that night for you, and I’m not usually the one to remember things that well,” Sakis said.

He and four other resident doctors were on shift early that morning, when their pagers lit up.

“It all started with the page that we got, that said something along the lines … you know, mass casualty shooting. I’ll never forget it said more than 20 traumas,” Sakis said.

At first, Sakis could not help but question what was happening.

Within minutes, patients started flooding the emergency room.

“They were truly coming in in the backs of pickup trucks  and ambulances that were just trying to get them to us as quickly as possible. And it didn’t stop,” Sakis said.

Sakis focused on bandaging wounds, controlling bleeding, and tending to other more critical injuries.

Briefly, doctors thought they, too, might be in danger when some thought an active shooter was in the hospital.

“That’s when I dropped behind the crash cart and reached for my phone. I couldn’t build a group text fast enough to include my wife, my two sisters, my mom and dad. I just sent them I love you all, I’m fine.”

A 16-hour shift of "organized chaos" came to an end.

Everyone treated in that hospital survived.

“I went home and kicked off our unfortunately blood soaked shoes and clothes.”

He experienced something he knows many people may not experience in their entire medical careers.

“I hope and pray no other resident does have an experience like that,” Sakis said.

A year later, he has moved out of state. He’s had a baby. He’s still in residency, but because of his experience in Orlando, he has a renewed motivation to help people heal, both inside and outside hospital walls.

“If I had one request of anybody involved,  it would be to go out of your way to do something kind for somebody that’s in need today/”