By Abe Aboraya
Kaiser Health News
Mario Perez lives in Miami, but he was in Orlando for a housewarming party Saturday, June 11. After the party, the 34-year-old went to the Pulse nightclub for Latin night.
At 2 a.m., he heard gunshots. Loud. He knew it was real.
“And the minute he started shooting, I got hit from the side, I got grazed by a bullet,” Perez said. “My first instinct was to fall to the floor, that’s what you’re taught to do.”
He heard gunshot after gunshot after gunshot — too many to count. But then there was a brief break in the firing, and Perez ran out the back of the club. He hid inside the kitchen of a nearby 7-Eleven until police and paramedics showed up. He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, and was at the emergency room from 3 a.m. until 8 a.m.
The gunshot wound on his side is purple and swollen, and he has nerve damage from the bullet fragment. He cut his elbow from glass on the floor of the nightclub and needed six stitches. Perez doesn’t know how much bills coming from specialists, X-rays and tests might cost him. But his bill from Orlando Regional Medical Center’s emergency department is $20,000.
“$20,000,” Perez said. “That’s the quote, that’s what they told me.” [Read more…]