Las Vegas

Nurse Injured in Las Vegas Climbed Fence to Survive, Wanted to Help Others

"I just kept praying, ‘Dear lord, help me. Give me the strength to get out of here,’" UCLA nurse Natalie Vanderstay said. "I just knew I wasn't ready to die, ready to give up."

Natalie Vanderstay, a nurse at UCLA, is normally the one helping patients in need. When bullets pierced the crowd at the Route 91 Festival, she was the one who needed help.

Something she struggled with was that she desperately wanted to save people during the massacre but she knew her injuries were critical.

She was shot in stomach and shrapnel hit her leg.

"I just kept praying, 'Dear Lord, help me. Give me the strength to get out of here,' she said from her hospital bed. "I just knew I wasn't ready to die."

The 43-year-old nurse from Santa Clarita said she was hurt that she was unable to save everyone around her.

"The first thing I saw was an event coordinator," she said. "He was down and was shot in the eye. I don't know if he was dead or alive. God, I wanted to help him so bad and I couldn't."

As a nurse, she also knew if she didn't get to a hospital she may not survive.

She said she trampled over crowds of people to get to the nearest exit. Bleeding from her stomach and leg, she climbed a fence and got in the first taxi she saw.

"I could feel the fluid building up in my stomach, I knew I had to get there, I kept saying to the cabdriver how much further," said Vanderstay.

A couple already in the taxi helped Vanderstay as much as they could. A woman applied pressure to the victim's wound while a man grabbed her phone and asked who he could call for her.

She was rushed into the operating room. Doctors said she will make a full recovery, but may have to live with the bullet lodged in her stomach for the rest of her life. They fear it may cause her more harm to remove the bullet.

Vanderstay said her heart is with those who didn't survive.

"My prayers and thoughts go out to the people we've lost."

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