Broward Health's response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was covered in-depth during South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association's 12th annual Healthcare Summit at the Signature Grand in Davie on June 13-14, 2018.
Gino Santorio, Broward Health's executive vice president and chief operating officer, gave a keynote address to regional healthcare leaders during the two-day conference, which focused on emergency management and response.
During his address, Santorio discussed the many ways in which a hospital system must care not only for patients during a crisis, but also its caregivers. He stressed the importance of being prepared for mass casualty events in advance with the establishment of standard operating procedures, chain of command and communications plans. Relationships with EMS and local law enforcement are also critical.
As the shooting in Parkland unfolded on February 14, Santorio said Broward Health medical staff and EMS responders immediately sprang into action, with teams coming together to care for the wounded and their families. “’Just say the word’ was a common phrase spoken among medical staff as they managed through the unthinkable tragedy,” he added.
“Ensuring patient care was priority number one,” he said. “But it was also a very emotional time for our staff, as many of us are connected to the Parkland community. We had to assess our caregiver team to determine if they were emotionally able to give the best possible care to all patients.”
Santorio added that Broward Health will be dealing with the emotional repercussions of the Parkland tragedy for a long time, but caregivers must also be reminded of the extraordinary, life-saving care they consistently provide to the community.
“Ninety-seven percent of the patients who came into our hospitals that day, walked out alive,” he said. “We have to remember to say thank you to our caregivers and remind them of the number of lives we were able to save.”
Two other Broward Health employees also spoke at the conference, including Emergency Preparedness Manager Kelly Keys, who hosted a breakout session titled “Emergency Management as a Team Sport: Role of Critical Access Providers,” and Corporate Communications Director Jennifer Smith, who hosted “Managing Social Media in Times of Crisis.”
Thank you to the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association for the opportunity to learn from other regional healthcare leaders and share best practices in emergency response.