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Tragedy in Gilroy

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“My son had his whole life to live and he was only six. That’s all I can say.” – Alberto Romero, father of Gilroy shooting victim Stephen Romero

“I have no words to describe this pain I’m feeling…We just want Keyla to be remembered as someone that is beautiful…She really cared a lot about other people. She loved animals. She had big dreams and aspirations and her life was cut short.” – Katiuska Pimentel Vargas, aunt of 13-year-old Gilroy shooting victim Keyla Salazar

“…25 years and you lived them to the fullest… I’m envious of the adventures you have gone on and the life you have lived…I pray you’re at peace and I pray that grandpa protected you as best as he could.” – Hayley Walborm, cousin of Gilroy shooting victim Trevor Irby

It’s hard to read the words of a woman who has lost her cousin, an aunt who has lost her niece, a father who has lost his son. For those of you who have chosen a profession to save and change lives, their pain is felt even more acutely.

It took less than a minute on Sunday for a 19-year-old man to shoot and kill three people, and wound another 12, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival before police took him down. Less than 60 seconds to shatter lives and families.

The emergency surgeries to attempt to save victims’ lives took hours.

Recovery and rehab for survivors will take months or years.

Emotional and physical pain will last a lifetime.

In the case of the Gilroy shooting, nurses and doctors at four hospitals – St. Louise Regional Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Regional Medical Center of San Jose, and Stanford Hospital – treated victims. When tragedy strikes, all hospitals answer the call.

“Relationships save minutes and minutes save lives,” said Dr. Adella Garland, the Trauma Medical Director at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

The shooting in Gilroy reminds us all, again, that life is precious, and that hospitals are the places people turn to when they are in most dire need.

As we share in the grief for families and victims in Gilroy, I’m deeply humbled and thankful for the hundreds of thousands of women and men who work at California’s hospitals and collectively shoulder the weight of performing miracles every day.

Your work inspires us all.

— Carmela