LAS VEGAS — Even though he had the required motorcade, as well as all of the protocol and security of a presidential occasion, President Donald Trump's visit to University Medical Center, or UMC, was decidedly low key and long-lasting.
The White House had indicated prior to the visit that President Trump would spend 30 to 40 minutes at the hospital, which is the main trauma center for all of southern Nevada. Instead, he ended up spending an hour and 35 minutes meeting with patients who were well enough to take visitors and who were not having medical procedures done.
One of the survivors who was undergoing a procedure and was therefore unable to meet the president has a drum-tight new bond to a woman who'd been a stranger to him before gunfire rang out Sunday night.
"When he got shot," said Lenea Sampson, "I said I cannot leave this boy."
Sampson is a bar manager who was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival country music concert on Sunday. Some of the gunfire unleashed by Stephen Paddock hit Luca Iclodean, 24, who'd been standing near Sampson.
She pulled Iclodean across the concert venue to safety during the massacre, and ensured that the seriously wounded man got medical help. Since then, Iclodean's condition has improved enough for him to visit with the woman who saved his life. Sampson has been at UMC every day since the massacre to check on Iclodean.
On Wednesday, he had to miss seeing President Trump, who is his idol. However, the woman who he calls his guardian angel summed up Iclodean's situation relative to the president's visit.
"That shows leaps and bounds," she said about the president's decision to spend time with survivors the shooting, "but I just want to make sure that my friend is getting better every day."
President Trump said that he's just as concerned. "Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter,” the president said after visiting with survivors and with doctors and nurses who helped save their lives. “We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain. ”
From the presidential limousine, the president and first lady waved as they left UMC on their way to Metro Police Headquarters to thank first responders for their work at the shooting scene.
There were a few protesters on hand outside of the hospital, but the crowd was made up of some supporters and, mostly, people who just wanted get a glimpse of the commander in chief and former reality TV show star. One of those onlookers is convinced that survivors like Luca Iclodean, who missed the president during his visit, will get to spend time with Mr. Trump eventually.
"One of the things stated" by the president in his remarks at the end of his visit, said Ariez Washington, who works in the hospital complex, is that "he did say he wants to host the victims at the White House. We have to hold him to his word."
Meanwhile, there's a GoFundMe page to help Iclodean cover his medical costs and to recover lost wages. Anyone interested in donating can do so here https://www.gofundme.com/kvya38-lucas-recovery.