A Portland neurosurgeon praised the work of emergency first responders—even though he himself helped 25 victims of the Amtrak derailment in a span of two hours. In an interview with The Oregonian, Dr. Nate Selden, chair of neurological surgery at Oregon Health and Science University said, "We should be very grateful as citizens that they are there, ready to go." He added, "I certainly have additional respect after seeing them
Enroute to Seattle with his 18-year-old son, Selden noticed something was amiss once traffic stopped and there were no cars heading into the oncoming lane.
"In the last few minutes before we got there we saw dozens upon dozens of first responders," Selden said in an interview with Lizzy Acker. Selden and his son quickly sprang into action providing first aid, putting in IVs, setting up backboards and neck collars and treating deep wounds, alongside EMTs and firefighters, according to the Oregonian.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reported that Barbara LaBoe, a Washington State Transportation Department Spokesperson said the train, on its maiden voyage on a new route, should have slowed from 79 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour before heading into the curve at the crash site.
Transitdocs.com however, a website which tracks Amtrak speeds, recorded the train at 80 mph shortly before the crash occurred, according to reports from the Associated Press.
"These train cars were just littered across the highway," Selden said, “...They didn't have tents up yet. They set the tents up around us as we were working." Selden and fellow workers wrote descriptions of the injuries around makeshift cards hung around victim’s necks for further treatment.
"We did know that there had been fatalities," Selden told Acker, "even by the time I had arrived.
"Based on comments from the first responders, I think the other fatalities may still be present on the trains or were at that time."
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