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

Aldergrove Mall site becomes election issue

Letter from developers supporting current Township council sparks flurry of responses

Fort Langley to hold all-candidates meeting

A forum in the village includes Township of Langley school trustee, council, and mayoral candidates.

By-invitation meet-and-greet for Township council candidates draws flak

Organizer rejects complaint it amounted to a slate, calls suggestion a ‘conspiracy theory.’

UPDATED: Underground power fault blacks out part of downtown Langley

Electricity was out for a major commercial area.

Langley rower captures silver at world championships

The women’s eight makes a come-from-behind charge for back to back world championship medals

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

5 to start your day

Fraser Health buys two MRI clinics, South Surrey boy helps kids in need and more

Vancouver, Delta police won’t use new roadside saliva test to detect pot

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is designed to find THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

South Surrey boy, 10, to help kids in need

Ronin Bulmer, 10, is going door-to-door asking for donations

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Most Read