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When Disaster Strikes, Hospitals Are There

By Rick Pollack
October 6, 2017

The recent events in Las Vegas are shocking, tragic, and heartbreaking. Our country mourns for the many lives lost, and we continue to care for the many more who were injured and are recovering. It’s hard to imagine the pain of those affected and their families. Our prayers and the nation’s are with them in this tragedy.

In this crisis, the women and men of Las Vegas’s hospitals and health systems heroically stepped forward to help the more than 500 victims hospitalized. Hundreds of doctors, nurses and other employees reported for duty to aid the injured and comfort the fatally wounded.

In the words of one nurse in the trauma resuscitation department at University Medical Center, which received many shooting victims: “I’ve been a nurse for 30 years, and this was by far the worst moment I’ve had…but it was the proudest moment.” The women and men at Las Vegas’s HCA Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican and other area hospitals also contributed mightily to caring for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in our history as well.

This tragedy also reminds us why violence is now viewed as a major public health and safety issue in our nation. It remains abundantly clear that community programs are essential if we are to effectively address violence and the heavy toll it takes on our communities, including our hospital colleagues. The AHA is working closely with the hospital field to break the cycle of violence in our homes, our jobs, and our neighborhoods through our Hospitals Against Violence initiative.

As our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas, we also can’t forget the people of Puerto Rico, who must recover and rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Recovery also continues in Texas and Florida after recent hurricanes.

Both the Texas and Florida hospital associations have established employee assistance funds. There is also a special fund dedicated to helping the hospital caregivers of Puerto Rico, The Care Fund. These are the only funds exclusively devoted to helping our hospital caregivers, and we urge you to consider making a contribution.

In moments of crisis, whether natural or man-made, America’s hospitals and health systems show great resiliency in trying circumstances, continuing to provide vital services for all in need. We could not be prouder of the thousands of caregivers who work around the clock, dedicated to helping victims and keeping people safe. Whether in Texas or Florida, Puerto Rico or Las Vegas, we’re grateful that you and your teams are always there – ready to care.

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Emergency Preparedness, advocacy, disaster readiness, leadership, members

Richard J. (Rick) Pollack is the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.



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