Aurora Shooting Victim Reunites with ER Team
It was a tearful reunion for Farrah Soudani, Dr. Comilla Sasson, and EMT Darryl Johnson — a reunion that almost didn't happen. Dr. Sasson and Johnson were seeing Soudani for the first time since her treatment months earlier at the University of Colorado Hospital.
Soudani was grievously wounded in the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado multiplex on July 20th, 2012, a crime that left 12 dead and 58 people wounded.
According to court documents, accused gunman James Holmes fired 76 shots, 65 of which were from the AR-15. Dr. Sasson says Soudani's wounds were consistent with an AR-15 projectile.( Read more: New York's Assault Weapon Registration Begins)
There are an estimated 4 million AR-15s in the United States. But to this day, Soudani does not advocate a ban on assault rifles.
"Guns don't kill people," Soudani said, "stupid people kill people." Instead, she calls for mandatory psychological evaluations as a requirement to purchase any gun, especially one with the AR-15's characteristics.
Soudani says she remains remarkably strong in the face of the tragedy —especially after Dr. Sasson had told her, "There is no reason you should be alive right now."
It started as a regular night at the movies, said the 22 year-old Soudani.
"It was my friend Alex's birthday on the 20th and we went to the midnight showing. We had 13 of us from work," said Soudani.
She remembers the stinging smell of tear gas, and shots ringing out about twenty minutes into "The Dark Knight Rises" A gunman had entered the theater and started shooting. Soudani was hit.
"And all of a sudden, I feel that my side is warm. And I put my hand on it, and I could just feel blood dripping down. And then, I knew I needed to get help."
When she arrived at the hospital, the doctors on duty were shocked from what they saw.
EMT Daryl Johnson was the first caregiver to reach Soudani when she arrived at the hospital in a police car. "I held her intestines in my hand," he recalled. There was damage to her stomach, spleen,lungs, kidneys, ribs, and diaphragm.
"These were war-like injuries you see on a battlefield," said Dr. Sasson, the first doctor to treat Soudani in the ER.
"The type of destruction that we're seeing is something that you can't do with a shotgun or even a handgun. You can't injure someone as much as you can when you've got thousands of rounds of ammo," added Sasson.
Despite her injuries, Soudani says life is almost back to normal. (Read more: The Rise in Popularity of the AR-15 Among Women)
"Hopefully, I can start work soon. Just waiting for a doctor's note," she laughed. "I appreciate every day more than I did before."