Oakland Police Officer Michael Igualdo and Officer Young remain friends. Photo: Paul Clinton
Igualdo knew Young couldn't wait for an ambulance and called for a "load and go" when a sergeant pulled up in a cageless supervisor vehicle. During the bumpy ride to Highland, Officer Cercedes asked Young about his children and his 40th birthday, as he rode in the back seat. Anything to keep Young's mind off the gunshot wound.
"We were trying to save a dying man's life," Igualdo says later about his decision to not wait for the ambulance. "If you believe you can get [the downed officer] to the hospital faster than an ambulance, then it's best to transport."
On the ride, Young grew pale. His mind raced with thoughts about catching Barrientos. Police radio traffic in the car chirped questions about the shooter's identity, and Young called out the shooter's name, date of birth, and warrants.
In the OR
Once he reached the operating room, Young's condition deteriorated.
"In the OR, we were trying to stabilize the patient," Dr. Sadjadi says. "With gunshots to the torso, the thing that kills people first is blood loss. That's the issue you have to address during the Golden Hour."
The "golden hour" is how trauma doctors refer to the time they have to save a patient with severe bleeding from a devastating injury. Young reached the operating room about 30 minutes after he was shot, which didn't give Sajadi much of a margin.
The OR staff opened up Young and saw the severe bleeding firsthand. Sadjadi began to tie-off the damaged artery, and once it stopped, Sadjadi began stuffing absorbent laparotomy pads into Young's abdomen to stop the bleeding.
Anesthesiologists continued feeding blood into Young intravenously. "My goal was to plug the sink, and their job was to keep the sink filled," Sadjadi says. Doctors fed 64 units (or pints) of red cells and another 40 units of platelets and plasma into Young—or more than five times the amount of blood in the human body—to keep him alive.
Young needed so much blood that the American Red Cross packed additional units into a cooler and sent the blood to Highland's OR via taxi.
Newspaper accounts of the incident brought a flood of calls to the Red Cross from law enforcement officers wanting to donate blood to help save Young. The response was so overwhelming that the Northern California Blood Service Region's Oakland donor center often resembled a police substation.
"People really came out to support Todd," says Sara O'Brien, the center's spokesperson. "We had weeks of blood drives. Everyone would like to know it was their unit that saved the police officer. But we need all types of blood."
Taking Down the Shooter
As doctors worked to save Young, his assailant, Barrientos, fled in a green Mazda 626 sedan he had carjacked from a convenience store a block away from the shooting. His mother told police that her son called her to tell her he had shot an officer. He then headed to meet a friend.