Fort Lauderdale, FL -- Maddy Wilford shared her story of hope and survival following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Joined by her parents, Broward Health North physicians and first responders, the 17-year-old wiped away tears as she spoke about her remarkable recovery.
“I would just like to say that I’m so grateful to be here and it wouldn’t be possible without the doctors and first responders,” said Wilford, a junior who is making a full recovery after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds. “All the love that has been passed around, I wouldn’t be here without it. I just want to send my love and appreciation out to all of you.”
Lt. Laz Ojeda, a Coral Springs paramedic who was among the team of first responders to rush Wilford to Broward Health North, described the “organized chaos” when he first arrived at the high school following the shooting. Officers found the teen unresponsive, and they immediately began working on Wilford. A Broward Sherriff’s Office SWAT officer gave her a chest seal that may have saved her life before she was taken to the hospital.
Evan Boyar, M.D., medical director of emergency services at Broward Health North, said the hospital had initiated a “code green” that indicated mass casualties. “From a hospital point of view, we were mobilizing multiple resources,” Dr. Boyar said. “We geared up our Emergency Department in order to care for multiple patients simultaneously and we got enormous support from of our entire hospital system. We all worked synergistically so that when [first responders] arrived at our facility we could determine exactly who was going to care for patients and have it occur in a seamless process.”
When Wilford first arrived at the hospital, she was pale, unresponsive and in shock, said Igor Nichiporenko, M.D, medical director of trauma services at Broward Health North. She underwent three surgeries to treat injuries to her chest, abdomen and arm.
“We see these types of injuries almost every other day,” Dr. Nichiporenko said. “Because of our experience treating these patients, we did an outstanding job and I’m glad that Maddy and her parents are here today to celebrate her recovery.”
Broward Health clinicians and administration shared Dr. Nichiporenko’s sentiments. “As a mother and Parkland resident, I am in awe of Maddy’s courage,” said Beverly Capasso, Broward Health President/CEO. “I am thankful that she was able to share her story of survival surrounded by loved ones as we at Broward Health continue to support our community during this time of loss and healing.”
Maddy’s father, David Wilford, said he was grateful to be sitting next to his daughter and thankful for the miracle that she had survived. Her mother, Missy Wilford, spoke about the power of prayer and the outpouring of love, prayers and positive energy from the community and people around the world.
“She’s a fighter,” Missy Wilford said, describing her daughter. “She knows who she is and she knows what she wants in life. She’s an inspiration to me.”