Orlando Health's response to America's deadliest shooting at nightclub: 5 things to know

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured in a shooting at Pulse, an Orlando, Fla.-based LGBT nightclub early Sunday morning. A SWAT team killed the gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, at the scene.

Orlando Health, a six-hopsital system with two affiliated hospitals, led the emergency response. Here are five things to know about how the health system handled the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

1. Orlando Health's Orlando Regional Medical Center took in most of the victims. ORMC is the only Level I Trauma Center in central Florida. "We take care of a number of critically ill patients on a daily basis, but not to this extent. We usually see six gun shot wounds at a time," Orlando Health tweeted Monday morning. The hospital usually has one trauma surgeon on staff at that time, but had to call in a total of six surgeons when staff saw the volume of victims coming in. It doubled its number of operating rooms and called a pediatric surgeon, the hospital tweeted Monday.

2. The hospital treated 44 victims. Nine died from their injuries Sunday morning, but no other patients have died since. As of noon Sunday, ORMC had operated on 26 victims. It had six operations scheduled for Monday. As of 11:30 a.m. Monday, five patients were still in grave condition. Including those five, the hospital still has 29 victims and has discharged six victims. Many of the victims are still in critical condition and in shock. The health system tweeted  that the victims had wounds from an assault rifle to the trunk, extremities and abdomen, and that many had multiple high-velocity gunshot wounds.  

3. Orlando Health put its facilities under lockdown for visitors early Sunday morning. It tweeted at about 4 a.m. that only essential workers were allowed access to ORMC in order to keep patients, families and staff safe. The lockdown was lifted at 1:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon and operations returned to normal. The hospital did continue to accept and treat other patients during the lockdown, it said.      

4. The hospital allowed family members of confirmed patients to visit during the lockdown. It said it had as many as 200 family members of victims in the emergency room. "One thing that has struck me about this is the impact this has had on the families," said Michael Cheatham, MD, chief surgical quality officer, as quoted by health system. The hospital also provided family members with multiple ways to access information about loved ones — it provided information at a local senior center and established a victim hotline, 407-246-4357. For its staff members, the hospital is now providing counseling.

5. The hospital is not accepting in-kind donations due to the nature of the incident. It also asked those who wished to donate blood not to come to the hospital, but to go to a blood center. On Monday morning Orlando Health tweeted, "We have experienced a huge outpouring of support. Local blood banks have over 600 units of blood on hand. Thank you, everyone."  

Editor's Note: Updated information was added to this report at 4:30 p.m. CT on June 13. This information includes 11:30 a.m. Monday morning victim counts, ORMC's strategy to double the number of ORs, its counseling resources and details on the patients' "high velocity gunshot wounds." 

 

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