How UF Health prepares for a mass casualty incident

UF Health Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Orlando’s surgeons, nurses and other medical personnel were put to the test Sunday morning after more than 50 people suddenly needed urgent care at the same time.

It’s the worst-case scenario, one for which trauma surgeons such as UF Health’s Dr. David Skarupa regularly prepare.

“I don't think any one institution or regional trauma system or even bigger statewide trauma system necessarily knows exactly one's readiness to (deal with) a mass casualty, until it actually happens,” Skarupa said.

UF Health is Jacksonville’s only level one trauma center, which means that it has the most resources.

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“We have the capability to mobilize any one of our surgeons at any time,” Skarupa said.

Skarupa admits that the numbers of patients seen in Orlando on Sunday would be difficult for any hospital to handle.

According to Skarupa, the first step is to identify the patients with the most severe injuries first; they would go to UF Health. Those with less severe injuries would go to other hospitals.

Mayor Lenny Curry said the city runs through drills, but communication is key.

“We have been through drills; we have been through an active-shooter drill, and so we are ready to respond. But we hope we never have to,” Curry said.

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