WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Maddy Wilford, 17, appeared with first responders, doctors and her parents to discuss her recovery after receiving multiple gunshot wounds during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Valentine's Day.
Maddy and her parents told reporters she wants her story to be one of hope. Maddy mostly let her parents and first responders talk during the news conference but said she is grateful to be alive.
She took her time and pausing a moment before speaking with reporters.
“I would just like to say that I’m so grateful to be here and it would not be possible without the officers, first responders and doctors,” Maddy said.
“It is time like this I know we need to stick together. I have seen positive posts about what his going on at the school. I love that we are sticking together in times like this,” Maddy added.
While recovering from her injuries last week, President Donald Trump and the first lady visited Wilford’s bedside. She was later released Thursday.
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Madeline “Maddy” Wilford, 18, and her family, who is recovering from gunshot wounds at Broward Health North Medical Center in Deerfield Beach, Florida. #StonemanShooting pic.twitter.com/v2SPVRG1No— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) February 17, 2018
Lt. Laz Ojeda of the Coral Springs Fire Department was one of the first responders that cared for Maddy after she was brought out of the high school. He described those harrowing moments when the young student was brought to him from inside the school. Ojeda said that she at first glance Maddy appeared to be deceased.
Ojeda explained it was in that moment he decided to take her to North Broward because it is a trauma center. He equated the experience of helping Maddy during those vital moments to being a tool in God's hands.
Ojeda added that even while Maddy's wounds were critical she was able to tell first responders her name, medical history and allergies. The lieutenant said that knowing that information allowed them to act fast.
After dropping Maddy off at the hospital the officer explained the events of the day didn't really hit him until he was with his son that evening.
"It didn't hit me until that night. The following day it affected me when I was at the gym with my 17-year-old son. And I thought what a sad state the world is in," Ojeda said.Dr. Igor Nichiporenko was the responding surgeon when Maddy was brought to the hospital. He described Maddy as pale, not responsive and in shock.
The bullets caused soft tissue damage and damage to her one of her lungs. The doctor explained that the doctors performed three "damage control" surgeries on Maddy and she had heavy bleeding as a result of her injuries.
"Three surgeries in a 40 hour period," Nichiporenko said. "Right upper extremity, right chest and right abdomen upper abdomen and chest."
"She is very very lucky," the doctor added.
Nichiporenko said that Maddy was dispatched from the hospital within seven days. He attributed her speedy recovery to her young age but she will likely need occupational therapy.
"Young people have a tendency to heal very fast," Nichiporenko said. "It is very impressive, considering the type of injuries and blood loss."
Maddy's mother, Missy, and father, David said it was not only the work of the doctors but the prayers and support from friends and strangers alike that helped Maddy in her recovery. She added that the actions of first responders were "divinely directed" to save her daughter's life.
Missy's father also thanked the four officers in the back of the room that pulled her out of the classroom and saved her life.
"There is a lot of people to thank for Maddy's life. Four are in the back of the room right there.. for pulling her out of that school and saving her life," David said.
“I am very grateful to be sitting here next to my daughter, alive and well today. There are a lot of people to thank for Maddy’s life, and 4 of them are in the back of the room right there,” David Wilford, father of Maddy Wilford, thanks first responders for saving his daughter pic.twitter.com/jkBIxlXc6z— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 26, 2018
Missy told reporters that her daughter is a fighter.
"She knows who she is and where she wants to go in life," Missy said. "Madeline is healing her wounds right now but will be healing her wounds emotionally for a while."She hoped that rather than focus on the negative that people can come together and look for the positive.
"She knows who she is. She knows where she wants to go and what she wants in life. That strength & power helps you heal. It makes you want to get up and it makes you want to keep going. She is an inspiration to me and all of those that have reached out to us," Maddy's mother says pic.twitter.com/1KaBRMFblY— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 26, 2018
"Yes this is a tragedy but I would like to find a way to find the positive in what has happened here in our community," Missy said.