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

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read