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After visiting victims, chief decries ‘horrific blow’
Saying the service had suffered a "horrific blow," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on Monday vowed Navy personnel would rally as a family from the attack at one of the Navy's oldest and most storied bases.
Addressing reporters at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where three of the Navy Yard shooting victims were being treated, Mr. Mabus announced that he had immediately conferred "designee status" on injured personnel, allowing the wounded civilian employees access to medical and dental care from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and other military medical facilities.
He added he did not expect anyone would need medical treatment beyond what the city's local hospitals could provide. Counseling for the wounded and those who survived the attack was also being provided.
"The Navy family today suffered a horrific attack — and we are a family," he said. "The civilians that work in the Navy and do the critical work that has to be done suffered just a stunning and horrific blow today."
MedStar received some of the very first casualties of the attack Monday morning, treating three shooting victims — a male police officer and two female civilian employees of the Navy — within hours of the attack that happened shortly after 8 a.m.
Despite the severity of the injuries — the police officer, who traded gunfire with the suspected assailant, required emergency surgery on his legs and one of the women was shot in the head and the hand — MedStar Chief Medical Officer Janis Orlowski said it was expected all three would survive.
Dr. Orlowski said all three victims were alert and talking when they arrived at the hospital. The D.C. police officer, she said, was most concerned with speaking to his mother when he arrived.
The second woman, who was shot in the shoulder, was particularly animated when she arrived for treatment, Dr. Orlowski said.
"She was ordering the doctors around and we had to tell her we're in charge here," Dr. Orlowski said.
George Washington University Hospital has confirmed that a 60-year-old male was killed in the Navy Yard shooting Monday morning.
A spokesman said the man, whose name was not released, was dead on arrival to the hospital at around 9 a.m., about 45 minutes after the shooting. The spokesman said the man was shot in the left temple and the wound was "not survivable by any stretch."
The hospital said it was told to be prepared to receive more victims.
Asked by a reporter what stood out to her about Monday's shootings, Dr. Orlowski made an impassioned plea against gun violence generally, saying such mass shootings were "not America."
"I would like you to put my trauma center out of business," she said. "I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots."
A Navy captain identified some of the deceased as employees in the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships, which is responsible for major shipbuilding projects. It is a part of the Naval Sea Systems Command, based at the Navy Yard.
The secretary did say the Navy has put in place a number of contingency plans, starting with evacuating the Navy Yard complex as soon as possible. The Navy is also working on being able to get all employees home, since their cars and personal belongings are now part of a crime scene, Mr. Mabus said.
"To the doctors, to all the medical personnel, to all the first-responders: thank you," he said.
People trying to find family members working at Navy Yard can call two numbers: 202-433-6151 or 202-433-9713.
The MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the largest private hospital in the city and one of the top U.S. medical facilities for cardiology treatment. It is renowned for tackling the Washington area's toughest cases with an emergency department ranked as a the highest category, "Level 1," trauma center. Its MedSTAR Transport helicopters are frequently seen at severe accident scenes.
The hospital is also home to the region's center for adult suffering from critical burns.
.• Nathan Porter contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
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