'What can I do to help?': Highland Park doctor jumps in to help wounded along parade route

  • Dr. Wendy Binstock Rush

    Dr. Wendy Binstock Rush

 
 
Updated 7/7/2022 10:29 AM

As a physician who has spent her career working at trauma centers, it's usually in the emergency room or operating room where Dr. Wendy Binstock Rush encounters victims of crime and violence.

"I've always been involved in trauma cases, but I've never been in the field with the trauma as it unfolds," the Highland Park resident said.

 

That changed Monday. Rush was staking out a prime spot along the July 4 parade route for her family when a gunman began to spray bullets into the crowd from atop the building behind her. She was among the medical professionals attending the parade who sprung into action in the immediate aftermath to help the wounded.

"It makes you think with all this badness in humanity -- these evil people out there that senselessly take other people's lives -- there's still good people in this world," Rush said. "There were dozens of people who jumped and identified themselves as a nurse, as an EMT, as a physician, and said, 'What can I do to help? What can I do to help?'"

Rush, an attending physician of anesthesiology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, was among four medical professionals who tried to save a man bleeding profusely from his abdomen.

"There were numerous people. One was just holding pressure to try and stop the blood from pouring out. Another was doing chest compressions. And I was taking care of his breathing. Another advanced practice nurse from Lurie's actually started an IV on him," Rush said.

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Rush and two paramedics rode in the back of the ambulance with the victim to Highland Park Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about a half-hour after they arrived.

Back near the parade route, Rush's husband and son were among the volunteer members of the Highland Park Community Emergency Response Team helping provide first aid and direct traffic and crowds. They both have participated in mass casualty training for events just like Monday's shooting.

"We live in Highland Park -- a sleepy little community. And I don't believe any of them ever thought they would use that training," Rush said.

"My husband actually said to me, 'Gee, I'm glad I listened to that lecture.' The previous years the biggest issues they'll have on Fourth of July is finding a lost puppy or reuniting a lost child with a parent."

On Monday, Rush's husband and son literally came home with blood on their hands.

"The three best words I have are: shaken, sad and beyond angry," Rush said. "Every week it's happening. A different one every week. And this time it's my town. And to be honest, every time I've seen this on the news lately, whether it's Buffalo, Uvalde, years ago Sandy Hook -- wherever it is -- there's nothing that's that different about their communities than any of our communities. And I've always asked myself, 'Why there? Why there? Why there?' And now I have the same question: Why here?"

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