Doctor who treated Humboldt victims was prepared by Syrian experience

Masri, whose parents are from Syria, volunteered with other doctors for two weeks in the war-torn country in 2011

Hassan Masri once cared for airstrike victims in Syria’s civil war, but that didn’t hardened him to the injuries he and other emergency staff at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital saw Friday night after a horrific bus crash that killed 15 people.

The hospital declared a ”code orange” meaning mass casualties are expected.

That designation means extra staff and extra machines are called in. Teams are organized to be assigned to each patient.

Everyone worked through the night treating 15 patients from a collision between a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team and a transport truck in eastern Saskatchewan. One of those patients later died, the RCMP said Saturday.

But after hours and hours of working non-stop, Masri was able to look up and remember he’s human.

“You see the mothers who are trying to cuddle their 19-year-old or 22-year-old in a stretcher, and the little sisters of these patients and the older brothers, and you start to hear the stories, and the pictures that they’re showing you of their loved ones — that’s when the shock and reality starts to really hit,” Masri told The Canadian Press Saturday.

“You start to look around and everyone is in tears, whether it’s the medical personnel, whether it’s the nurses or the patients’ families or everyone.”

Masri said he hadn’t heard the news about the crash when he showed up for his 12-hour shift as an intensive care doctor at the hospital at 8 p.m. Friday. He headed to the emergency department to see what was going on, and saw a massive number of physicians, surgeons, neurosurgeons, residents, nurses and other personnel.

Each patient would have their own team with an ER doctor, a surgeon, a resident, a respiratory therapist, and a nurse, he said.

They had just under two hours to get ready.

“The people in Saskatoon and around Saskatoon and smaller towns are very close-knit families. People knew who was in the bus. People knew somebody who knew somebody who was on the bus,” Masri said.

“People could relate because a lot of people have kids that play on hockey teams that travel from town to town so this was personal.”

Masri, whose parents are from Syria, volunteered with other doctors for two weeks in the war-torn country in 2011. That experience likely helped prepare him for the bus crash, he said. He learned to control his emotions and focus on the task at hand.

But while the severity of the injuries may have been similar, Masri said the resources available to treat the casualties were much, much better than what he had in Syria. Masri said the Saskatchewan Health Authority and hospital administration ”played a huge role” in making sure everything went smoothly.

“There wasn’t even a single hiccup yesterday that I could think of in the whole process.”

Masri was trying to sleep Saturday but the experience kept replaying in his mind.

He’ll be working again at 8 p.m.

“I’ll go back to caring for the same patients who obviously will have a long road ahead, and will need me to be fresh and ready to take care of them.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Silly boats make a splash on Nanaimo seas

Superette wins Nanaimo’s Silly Boat Regatta community fundraising event

Nanaimo lacrosse goalie scores two goals in one game

Charles Claxton leads senior A Timbermen to their fourth straight win

Redliners park their rides for charity car show in Nanaimo

The Redliners Charity Car Show continues until 3 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at Country Club Centre

Florist announces bid for Nanaimo city council

Jim Turley, former owner of Turley’s Florist, intends to run in fall election

St. Andrew’s United Church celebrates 125th anniversary

Church on Fitzwilliam Street in Nanaimo to hold event July 18 to recognize milestone

VIDEO: Winners announced for Parksville sand sculpting competition

See the sculptures as they progress through the competition at Parksville Community Park

VIDEO: Firefighters putting out brush fire in East Wellington

Fire is in the area of a new development under construction near Shady Mile Way

Motorcyclist dies as fire, crash happen at the same time on Nanaimo Parkway

Young male motorcycle rider collides with one vehicle, then struck by another

Development permit approved for condo project near Millstone River

Six-storey building planned for Barsby Avenue

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Driver angry after accident at north Nanaimo intersection

One patient taken to hospital after crash Friday at Enterprise Way and the old Island Highway

Most Read