- Published on 19 April 2012
- Written by Jenn Lampila
- Hits: 828
Elizabeth Luong’s survival of shooting started with care at the scene, transport from Crete.
That awful night was much more than a year ago and Elizabeth Canas Luong has tried to move on. She got married, has her family and is blessed with the knowledge that a legion of people was there to care for her when she needed them most.
Luong and her team of trauma champions were honored along with another trauma survivor and caregivers Thursday night at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, as part of Bryan LGH Trauma Center’s 2012 Tribute to Trauma Champions.
She was sitting in the break room of AmeriCold Logistics, south of Crete that September night when a co-worker, Akouch Kashoual,came in with a gun. There were screams and people scrambling. She was shot six times, doctors believe. She made it outside and wanted someone to tell her kids she loved them.
Someone had called 9-1-1 and Crete Police dispatcher Debbie Hutchinson-Albers relayed the message to Crete officers who teamed with Saline County Sheriff's deputies at the scene. Sheriff Alan Moore said a multi-agency response involved Crete, Wilber and Friend Police, Saline County Sheriff and the Nebraska State Patrol for the “active shooter” event inside the facility.
Deputy Tony Lytle gave cover to Luong as she lay on the ground near the office entrance. Rescue was on its way, but the area needed to be secure for them to enter, standing operating procedure, Crete Police Chief Steve Hensel said.
The first Crete ambulance arrived to take Luong. EMT Jordan Lampila said they needed to get her in the unit and out to safety, away from the dangerous situation as quickly as possible. Steph Weis, EMT, said they were trying to assess her wounds on the way to Crete Area Medical Center.
Dr. Jason Hesser said they were told there of five to six victims. They activated their trauma team of nurses, lab techs and x-ray techs to be ready.
“The worst part was the unknown,” Dr. Amy Vertin said.
When Luong was on Star Care’s helicopter, the operating room at Bryan was already being prepped for her arrival, RN Cyndi Gray said. Dr. Stanley Okosun said a bullet went through her chest, lungs, diaphragm, colon and kidney before exiting her body.
“I knew at one point, because she was talking to me in the trauma center, that we were going to be able to save her life,” he said.
Luong underwent more surgery in the weeks to come. She had post-operative care and physical therapy among other repeat visits. Her story went on from there with her battles to heal and recover
Bryan LGH said it can take at least 60 people for every trauma survivor. From the first dispatch call, to rescue and law enforcement, to surgery and recovery.
“It takes a whole team to have a survivor,” Dr. Reginald Burton said Thursday night.
For more on this story, see the April 18 print or e-editions of The Crete News.