PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Many in the Pittsburgh community are having trouble coping in the aftermath of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, even the emergency room physicians who are trained in how to respond to these cases.
UPMC emergency physician Dr. Ron Roth calls police and paramedics who responded to the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue some of the bravest people on the planet. He says he watched them run into the building.
“You could see in everyone’s face that they had seen something horrific. Obviously, it was challenging,” Roth said.
Roth’s job was to assess the situation and help the emergency rooms prepare for casualties from the mass shooting, but the shooting hit close to home, making his job even more difficult.
“I went to that synagogue. I had my Bar Mitzvah at that synagogue. I went to Hebrew school there, and I looked at the door of the synagogue and saw bullet holes in the door,” Roth said.
That’s when his training kicked in. Despite the horror, he found a way to put personal feelings aside.
“The situation for the training was very similar. An active shooter goes into the JCC and starts shooting people. It was ironically and eerily very similar,” Roth said.
Dr. Peter Siska, an orthopedic surgeon, treated emergency room victims. He remembers seeing gunshot wounds and broken bones.
“Very saddened. I really felt awful. I think, you know, like I indicated, we’ve seen a lot of these gunshot wounds, horrible traumas before. I’ve seen a lot of injuries here, but the circumstances of this shooting… just awful. Really affected me deeply,” Siska said.
Jeffrey Magill, an emergency management coordinator, and his staff went to the Jewish Community Center to try to comfort families who lost loved ones.
“There’s not a whole lot you can tell them other than we’re here and they’re not alone. Being there to support as they get information, good or bad. This case, most often, it was unfortunate news,” Magill said.