Retired doctor says he was first on scene to help Vancouver shooting victim
By Keven Drews for The Canadian PressNews Public Sector
A retired physician said he relied on his years of experience as a trauma doctor as he helped a man who had been shot only seconds earlier outside a Vancouver coffee shop.
Cliff Chase, who worked as an emergency trauma doctor in Saskatchewan for 25 years, said he was leaving a store when his wife told him a man had been shot.
“You kick into procedure mode, you blank everything else out if you can, and you just do what you have to do,” he said. “You’re trained to intervene in whatever way you can.”
The shooting in Vancouver’s Yaletown district on Tuesday was the first of two incidents in which police traded gunfire with a male suspect who was later wounded outside Science World, a popular tourist and family attraction.
Chase said he approached the man who was lying on the ground outside a local Starbucks and found him unconscious, barely breathing, going into shock and bleeding heavily.
He said he lifted up the man’s shirt to see if he could see any active bleeding on the front of his body. He said couldn’t, so he turned the man over and found he was bleeding from his back.
“When I did roll him over to see how much blood there was, and it was actively pumping out, I didn’t see that there was one, or two or three shots,” he said. “I just knew this fellow is not doing well. He was bleeding out very quickly.”
Chase said he used a towel from the coffee shop to put pressure on a wound on the man’s back and opened up his airways.
He said he didn’t want to perform CPR because he wasn’t sure how long it would take for the ambulance to arrive, and the victim would have bled even more had he been subjected to active chest compressions.
Chase said he waited for the ambulance to arrive and take the victim to hospital, after which he finished his coffee and went home to eat lunch.
“So you know I didn’t do a lot,” he said, “But if I did anything to help prolong his stability and his life, and that he made it to the operating room and hopefully will make it through surgery, that’s great.”
Vancouver police have not named the victim, although an employee at local bike shop confirmed its owner, Paul Dragan, was the shooting victim. He’s in hospital in critical condition.
Const. Brian Montague said Tuesday that police officers challenged the alleged shooter and exchanged several shots near the downtown coffee shop.
He said officers pursued the suspect, who was on a bike. Montague said police were later confronted by the man on the sea wall at Science World, a popular tourist and family attraction, where there was a second exchange of gunfire.
The alleged shooter was taken to hospital in serious condition and remains under police guard, he added, and a female officer who was injured by flying glass was taken to hospital with minor injuries, treated and released.
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