Orlando Regional Medical Center Providers Reflect on Deadly Mass Shooting Six Months after Event

December 14, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Six months after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, clinicians and staff from Orlando Regional Medical Center reflected on the event and the medical center's response, during a keynote session at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's National Forum, held December 4 through 7, 2016, in Orlando. The nightclub is three blocks from the hospital, which treated 44 patients after the shooting; 35 of the patients survived. "The medical center's response "brought out the best of us in the worst of times," said Jamal Hakim, MD, chief operating officer, Orlando Health, which operates the medical center. Noting that the "emotions are still fresh," he said, "I don't think any one of us was prepared for the magnitude of what came in. " As the number of patients needing treatment increased, "I started to get really scared," said Elisabeth Brown, RN, who was working in the emergency department as patients arrived. "Patients had wounds we'd never seen before. Nurses were stepping outside their roles because we had to," she recounted. Commenting that he had to use a battlefield triage approach to make decisions about which patients were "salvageable," trauma surgeon Chadwick Smith, MD, said he relied on his training and a "team attitude that you trust in each other. " He added, "Everyone on the team was experiencing something they'd never before experienced.

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