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Fla. Hospital Effectively Responds to Recent Airport Shooting

The hospital’s emergency response procedures helped staff deal with the rush of victims, relatives and the media.

The CEO of the hospital that treated more than 50 patients following the mass shooting at a Florida Airport recently discussed the experience.

On Jan. 6, Esteban Santiago shot 13 people at the Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, killing five.

Minutes after the shooting began, 54 people were transported to nearby Broward Health Medical Center’s Level 1 trauma center, reports Hospitals and Health Networks.

The hospital’s interim CEO, Mark Sprada, praised the facility’s response and credited the emergency drilling staff members regularly conduct with local agencies. Some of those drills included airport personnel.

“We take our readiness very seriously,” Sprada says. “I’m very, very proud of our trauma team and our hospital staff. Of course, it’s the doctors and nurses, but it’s also the X-ray technicians, the radiologist and the patient-access person who’s registering people quickly so that we can care for them. I’m in awe of my staff. They did a wonderful job.”

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Prada says the hospital’s location next to the city of Fort Lauderdale, which includes the airport and a large maritime industry, made emergency planning an even higher priority among administrators.

The hospital effectively moved into its emergency response mode as patients came in and staff members assumed their roles in the established incident command system.

“Whether you have an influx of patients from a chemical spill, a bio-terrorism event, plane crash or a shooting, you still have to have your emergency personnel ready to go,” Prada says. “The fortunate thing for hospitals is we’ve had these [Joint Commission] standards for a number of years.”

Prada also praised his staff members for dealing with the hordes of family members looking for information on relatives and the media masses that showed up to the facility.

Six of the victims treated suffered from gunshot wounds while others were dealing with heatstroke or had left their medication at the airport while evacuating. Nine of the victims were admitted to the hospital and three remain hospitalized.

One of those victims remains in critical condition and another is listed in serious condition. Both were gunshot victims.

Prada says the shooting shows the importance of improving the country’s mental health care system.

Read Next: Is Your Hospital’s Communications System Ready for the Next Big Emergency?

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