The Orlando Health and Florida Hospital will absorb approximately $5.5 million in medical costs to assist victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
On June 19th, Pulse nightclub located in Orlando, Florida, became the grounds for a massacre carried out by a man named Omar Mateen. The 29-year-old killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack / hate crime, and was later shot and killed by the local police department after a three-hour stand-off.
The incident has now been labeled the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001. Fortunately, the Orlando Health and Florida Hospital is helping some of the victims cope with the aftermath of the shooting by refusing to bill them for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The Orlando Sentinal reports that on Wednesday, the hospital announced that it would write off approximately $5.5 million or more in care. David Strong, CEO of the hospital and Orlando Health President said:
“The pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community. During this very trying time, many organizations, individuals and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support. This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward.”
The main hospital, the Orlando Regional Medical Center, treated 44 of the 50 victims who needed medical attention from the attack. Nine of the patients, that were admitted shortly after the shooting, died on the premises; one has remained hospitalized there.
The hospital will send all bills to health insurers for patients who had coverage. Any costs that aren’t covered will be absorbed by the Orlando Health and Florida Hospital.
Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital’s president and CEO, told the press:
“It was incredible to see how our community came together in the wake of the senseless Pulse shooting. We hope this gesture can add to the heart and goodwill that defines Orlando.”
When media outlets caught up to multiple survivors, the response was positive all around. Mario Lopez, who was only visiting the area, expressed his relief:
“I was so worried because I can’t afford any of that. I just went out for a fun night with friends. No one expected this to happen. My life was turned upside down, and then I had to worry about how I was going to pay back the hospital.”
Lopez, who is uninsured, was one of the lucky ones that night. Reportedly, a bullet grazed him and fragments impacted his left side. After falling on glass, he was positively bloody and in need of assistance. But after a 7-hour trip to the hospital, he was facing a $20,000 bill – something he couldn’t afford. Fortunately, Lopez – and many others – no longer need fear the repercussions of that night.
The hospital will also cover future surgeries required by the shooting victims. Said a spokesman for Orlando Health:
“We can’t predict the future needs of these patients, their financial situations or what the state or federal governments may require us to do for charity policies. While we can’t assume the answer is free care forever, we will use our very generous charity and financial assistance policies to assess the best way to help.”
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