Doctor Says He Expects Orlando Shooting Death Toll to Rise, Six Patients Still in Critical Condition

Dr. Michael Cheatham of the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) revealed at a Tuesday, June 14, press conference that he expects the Pulse nightclub shooting death toll to increase, as six patients are still in critical condition.

Of the 44 victims admitted to ORMC, 27 patients still remain under the hospital’s care. The six critically ill patients are undergoing treatment in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Five others remain in guarded condition, while 16 are in stable condition.

Dr. Michael Cheatham speaks during a press conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center, June 14, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Michael Cheatham speaks during a press conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Florida on June 14, 2016. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"No patients have succumbed to their injuries since the initial nine patients who came to us at the time of the shooting," Cheatham told reporters. "All of the patients since arrival to the hospital are still with us.”

Most are "steadily improving," he said, although "there are one or two of those six [critically ill patients] that I would consider to be profoundly ill."

"I would be surprised if we do not see the death toll rise,” he said, adding that if those patients do survive their injuries, there could be “lasting impact in regard to functionality."

One of Cheatham’s patients sustained a gunshot wound to the head. "There were a number of victims that sustained gunshot wounds to the head, those victims were unable to get out of the club," he noted. "We did get one patient here that did sustain a gunshot wound to the head, and he is currently in the intensive care unit."

Matt Mitchell, 42, who was born and raised in Orlando, takes a moment Tuesday, June 14, 2016, to pray at a growing memorial at the Dr. Phillips Center for the victims of the mass shooting on Sunday at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Matt Mitchell, 42, who was born and raised in Orlando, takes a moment Tuesday, June 14, 2016, to pray at a growing memorial at the Dr. Phillips Center for the victims of the mass shooting on Sunday at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images

While the ORMC staff never expected a tragedy like the attack that occurred on Sunday, June 12, Cheatham praised the hospital’s medical workers for responding as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"This was the largest disaster that we probably could have imagined," he said. "We went ahead and we implemented the plan that we had designed over the years and perfected through practice, and I think it worked."

As Us Weekly previously reported, police identified the shooter in the tragic incident as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Florida. Mateen’s rampage at the gay nightclub began just after 2 a.m. He killed 49 and wounded 53 more.

The attack is now the deadliest shooting in American history, overtaking 2007’s Virginia Tech shootings, which had a death toll of 32. Officials have labeled the massacre a possible “act of domestic terrorism.” 

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