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Official who developed PTSD after the Pulse massacre to lose work



When Delgado's eyes adjusted to the darkness, the magnitude of the carnage was focused.

"I started scanning the ground, nothing but bodies, and I noticed that a couple of people started to move, and that's when I started acting," said Delgado, 45, an officer in the police department of the city. suburbs of Eatonville. He dragged multiple bullet victims out to a safe place and many hailed him as a hero for his actions that night.

After rescuing the living, Delgado spent hours inside Pulse with the dead while continuing the confrontation with the gunman. He said he was still tormented by what he saw.

"I can remember how everyone was positioned, I can remember the blood, I can see where many of the shots, the shots, went to these people," he said. "There are so many things that trigger the memory of that night: an iPhone playing, listening to that sound for hours and knowing that there is a loved one trying to call that other person who was inside that club … It was so bad that there was a phone that began to float in the blood due to the vibration of the phone. "

Since that night, Delgado said, he has suffered nightmares, depression and anxiety and has had great difficulty sleeping. He was diagnosed in August 201

6 with a post-traumatic stress disorder. After not being able to work for six months, he returned to the force but only in a desk job, the stress of the patrol was too strong. Delgado continues to see a therapist.

Now, a year and a half after the attack on the nightclub, the official "hero" is about to lose his job, he says, due to his post-traumatic stress disorder. Delgado was notified this week that, as of December 31, he will no longer work for the department where he has been official for almost a decade.

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"I answered the call that night, and as I answered the call, that was the call that changed my life," he said. He said. "I gave it my all and I thought they would have been proud of me and that they would have taken care of me."

Although it is an injury suffered in the line of duty, PTSD is not covered by workers' compensation in Florida. It was a surprising development that Delgado believes is linked to his pending tenth anniversary, which would allow him to collect a pension.

He said he was told that a doctor hired by the department to evaluate his health found him "incapacitated for duty" and that there was no civilian position available for him.

The deputy head of Eatonville, Joseph Jenkins, confirmed Delgado's last day at work will be December 31 but would not confirm or deny any other details, citing privacy regulations.

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"We have embraced Officer Delgado wholeheartedly from the beginning," he said. "We have surrounded him with love and support and we continue to support him … and we have done everything that was in our power for him.

" We will not forget him or let him go. This is not easy for us either. "

Delgado argues that there are other Pulse response teams that are afraid to speak out." Once you go public and say you need help … it makes you look weak. But you know what? I'd rather look weak than deal with that, because dealing with that is horrible. "

Up to 19% of law enforcement officers have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and almost one of every four officers have thoughts of suicide at some point in their lives.

In Florida this week, there was a hearing on a bill that works its way into the state Legislature that would grant workers' compensation benefits to first responders if They can not work because of PTSD The relatives of the first responders who committed suicide testified as part of the process.

"PTSD is a parasite in the brain," said firefighter Josh Vandergrift, according to CNN affiliate WFTV does not care, control, grow, and eat and eat the brain. "

Delgado says that his wife's salary alone can not support him or his three children. Despite mental pain, and now financial, Delgado said he would not change anything about his experience.

"I understand what I'm going through, it's horrible, it's my agony at this moment, to meet that club that night, to do what I did, but I would do it in the blink of an eye … because I could save (the people) "


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