Physical therapists help Pulse survivors with lengthy healing process

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ORLANDO, Fla. - The survivors of the Pulse terror attack are fighting to relearn how to do every day things that some might take for granted.

Many of the survivors are working to move forward, both emotionally and physically, since the attack.

It’s a process that could take years, and although it’s a tough reality, it’s changing day by day, partly thanks to the work of physical therapists.

“This was the most horrific event I’ve seen in six years, without a doubt,” said Dr. Rachel Gonzalez, the director of physical therapy at Orlando Health.

 

Raw: Pulse victims go through physical therapy

Physical therapists discuss the challenges many pulse victims went through during rehabilitation.

 

While the doctors and nurses in the hospital’s trauma center helped patch up Pulse victims, the work inside its rehab institute is continuing.

The rehab therapists have seen the survivors at their worst.

“There (were) a lot of abdominal wounds, from gunshot wounds to the belly that resulted in all sorts of organ and bowel damage,” Gonzalez said.

She said patients have also been left with nerve damage from extremely large wounds, leading to frequent and emotional visits.

“Almost everybody has lasting injuries and lasting effects that were going to take months, maybe even up to a year to heal,” said Gonzalez.

For many of the survivors, it’s been a painful and lengthy process of relearning how to use their legs, hands or arms.

The ability to get out of bed, feed themselves or even lift a leg up to put on socks, are just some of the things the gunshot injuries took away from the victims.

“Overcoming the traumatic side of it and really coping with that and using their arms to do these simple things is tough,” said master of occupational therapy Cindy Mayorga.

The therapists are working to return the victims’ their physical freedom.