Faraz Farahnik, D.D.S, and Parham Saadat, a dental hygienist, were finishing up the week at Encino Dental Smile in southern California when they saw a man wearing scrubs covered in blood running out of the hospital across the street. The pair quickly sprang into action and caught up to the man as he was fleeing and attended to what appeared to be stab wounds. They were then directed into the hospital where they found multiple people injured. Now they are being credited with saving the lives of several providers and patients.
Walking into a “Bloodbath”
When Farahnik and Saadat first noticed the man running out of the hospital, they assumed it was a patient looking for treatment until they saw that he was wearing scrubs.
“He tells us, ‘There’s somebody inside, a patient who stabbed me,’” Saadat said. “‘And he’s stabbing other people inside.’”
“It was chaos,” Farahnik said. “Our first approach to the scene was to help the stabbed victim outside the hospital. We helped to stabilize the bleeding and directed everyone at the hospital, who were all in great shock, to call the police and paramedics.”
The victim turned out to be a male nurse with a brutal stab wound. They remember asking the bystanders for towels to help stop the bleeding. “His guts were out,” Saadat said. “He had a pretty bad slash.”
Their attention then turned to the hospital ER department. Farahnik said another doctor came out and asked them for help.
“We were approached by another clinician to come into the ER to help the stabbed ER doctor,” Farahnik recounted. “We then entered the hospital and encountered the suspect in the bloody violent scene.”
The suspect in question has been identified as Ashkan Amirsoleymani, 35. The Los Angeles Police Department says he came into the hospital on Friday afternoon asking for treatment for anxiety. He then allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed two nurses and a physician.
“At the moment, we saw people who needed help,” Saadat said. “It felt natural for us to help.”
Farahnik and Saadat encountered the suspect holding the bloody knife once they came inside.
Saadat saw the man walk into a nearby storage closet and immediately ran up to close the door behind him. He asked others to help him secure the door, so he could start treating the victims.
“A nurse came and helped me hold the door, and then a security guard came,” he said. “We asked them to hold the door closed.” Saadat said the man did not try to push his way out of the closet but stood over a sink, possibly wiping his knife.
“The guy wasn’t even reacting,” he said. “He was just standing in the room, his back toward the window of the door. I’m not really sure what he was doing. But it was definitely pretty creepy.”
They described the scene as “chaotic”. The police hadn’t yet arrived and Farahnik and Saadat were the only ones on hand who seemed capable of responding to the carnage.
“People were kind of confused about what to do,” Saadat added. “There was blood all over the floor, blood in the rooms, blood on the gurney the doctor was laying on. It was a bloodbath.”
“We felt like we were the only ones [who could] help,” Farahnik said. “We had to step up. We didn’t think about how dangerous it was.”
They then attended to the female physician lying on the gurney, her black scrubs soaked with blood. They pressed towels into her abdomen to suppress the bleeding. They also noticed a patient in a wheelchair that had been stabbed in the leg, but their wound didn’t seem as pressing as the doctor’s.
“I can’t explain what it is, what made us do this,” said Saadat. “We just took the initiative.”
Officers then arrived on the scene and the dental providers directed them toward the suspect, still holed up in the storage room.
All three victims are being treated for their stab wounds and are said to be in stable condition.
Dr. Jason Greenspan, an emergency room director of the hospital, expressed his appreciation for the heroic duo.
“These are people that I’ve [worked] alongside of really for decades now,” he said. “They are heroic and brave in every way.”
Police are still looking for a motive. “We’re very mindful of what just occurred in Tulsa and what’s happened all across the country,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore, referring to the mass shooting that took place at Saint Francis Hospital on June 1.
The suspect has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and is being held on $3 million bail.