CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school student, Maddy Wilford, who was shot multiple times during the massacre, is grateful to be alive.
“I would just like to say that I am so grateful to be here and it wouldn’t be possible without the doctors and first responders. These amazing doctors and especially all the love that everyone has sent. I was sitting on my couch at home today thinking about all the letters and gifts everyone has given, all the love that’s been passed around, I definitely wouldn’t be here without it,” said Maddy Wilford. “I just want to send my love and appreciation out to all of you.”
On Monday, Wilford sat down with some of the doctors and first responders who saved her life to talk about the day of the shooting.
“I’m just glad I’m making a full recovery and everything has been going so smoothly,” she said.
Lt. Laz Ojeda, one of the Coral Springs paramedics who treated her at the school and rushed her Broward Health North remembers the day of the shooting started off pretty normal but quickly turned to chaos.
Ojeda said his unit was immediately dispatched to the school but his captain took the initiative and told them to go. They turned out to be the third rescue unit on to arrive.
He said when officers were clearing the school, they originally thought Maddy was dead. It wasn’t until an officer gave her a little shake that they realized she was still alive.
Wilford was bleeding several bullet wounds to her chest and abdomen. A Broward Sheriff’s SWAT team member put a chest seal on her and doctors say it probably save her life. They later found she had a tension pneumothorax which could have
Ojeda said in addition to her chest wounds, she also had severe injuries on her left elbow. Once inside the rescue unit, he immediately saw she was in shock and her blood pressure was extremely low. He infused her with fluids and oxygen.
He said it took a couple of tries before he was able to get her to respond to his question of how old she was. After she finally said 17, Ojeda said the decision was made to take her to Broward Health North, which was only 10 miles away, instead of the trauma center at Broward Health Medical Center which was about 30 miles away.
Dr. Igor Nichiporenko, Medical Director of Trauma Services at the hospital said, they received three of the school victims that day.
He said Wilford was pale, non-responsive and in shock when she was brought in. He said her wounds were severe with massive bleeding, so she was rushed into surgery within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Wilford underwent three surgeries, two for her chest and abdomen, the third for her arm.
David Wilford, Maddy’s father, was grateful to everyone who saved his daughter’s life.
“There’s a lot of people to thank for Maddy’s life and four of them are standing in the back of the room. These guys from the Coral Springs police department and the Broward Sheriff’s Office pulled her out of that school and saved her life. The people at Broward North again saved her life when she was brought in. It’s hard for me to feel anything but gratitude and thanks for the miracle that’s happened with her,” he said.
Wilford’s mother Missy said her “heart is so full of gratitude for those who helped Madeline and all the other victims.”
She said her daughter is a fighter and wants to get better and will do so both mentally and physically.
“In those moments where she can feel normal, that has helped her psychologically heal,” she said.
Wilford said to all the students out there who were impacted by this, do be afraid to reach out for help.