Before first responders got to Highland Park mass shooting, off-duty doctors helped save neighbors

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Off-duty doctors helped Highland Park mass shooting victims
Before first responders could get to Highland Park July 4 parade shooting, several off-duty doctors helped save their neighbors by administering emergency first aid.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The gunfire that rained down on the Highland Park July 4 parade produced the kinds of wounds typically seen on a battlefield. But before official first responders arrived, everyday citizens administered emergency first aid to their neighbors.

More than 50 people were shot or wounded by shrapnel during the attack, and seven people were killed.

Dr. Loren Schechter, a Highland Park resident and plastic surgeon specializing in gender-affirming surgery at Rush University medical Center, and Dr. Wendy Binstock Rush, a Highland Park resident and anesthesiologist affiliated with several Chicago area hospital including University of Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Children's hospital, were both there that day. Both sat down with ABC7 Investigative Reporter Chuck Goudie to share their memories of that fateful day.

"I ran across the street to a gentleman that was down," Binstock Rush recalled. "And as an anesthesiologist, I'm a little bit trained or somewhat trained in airway skills. But one of the paramedics handed me an Ambu bag and I started just trying to breathe for this gentleman. I guess I had a sense that he probably wasn't going to make it, but that's where my attention was focused, and it wasn't for me to get up and leave him."

"It was more instinctual just to go back. If I had to think about it, I'm not sure what I would have done," Schechter said. "So a friend, a colleague of mine, Dr. Baum, and I said, you know, David, can you help? Let's start an IV. So we started an IV. He was a Spanish speaking gentleman. And it was the victim that we just, you know, tried to calm him down a bit and relax."

The shooting victims that day ranged in age from 8 to 88 years old, but there are hundreds of other victims from July 4, 2022 who weren't struck by gunfire but remain traumatized by what they heard and saw as the unbelievable unfolded.