How I Heard

Terry, above top left: In the early morning of June 12, 2016, I received a phone call from Mark Jones, president of Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC). He informed me of a mass shooting in Orlando, and I immediately got ready and headed to the hospital. I knew our Blood Bank would be affected by the incident. When I arrived, I encountered road blocks and police everywhere.  I was stopped by the police, who told me I could not be on campus due to a possible shooter in the Emergency Department who fled to the nursing units. I said I was in charge of the laboratory and needed to get there as quickly as I could. They followed me in with their lights flashing to the main entrance of ORMC.

 

Lourdes, above top right: Early that morning, I received a phone call from the Blood Bank department at ORMC informing me that a mass casualty was in progress. The team requested help. I didn’t recognize the voice and it took me a few seconds to realize what the person was saying. In the background, I heard the lab assistant saying, “We need help.” I proceeded to call in team members and prepare to report immediately to ORMC. The senior technologist called me minutes later to explain the situation. At this point, I was wide awake. I continued to support the team over the phone and continued to reach out to team members for assistance. I remember waking up my husband and saying, “I need you to take me to work. There’s been a shooting and it is bad and I don’t know when I will be back.” There were two medical technologists on the way to the hospital. I left a message for three other team members, making sure that they understood this was not a drill, this is a mass casualty and I needed them to report to work as soon as possible.

 

Lori above center: That night I did not have my cell phone in the bedroom, so I didn’t hear it or the home phone ringing. The Blood Bank supervisor, Lourdes Miller, and the customer support lead in the main laboratory had both called to notify me. Later that morning when I checked my phone, I saw a text that said, “My thoughts are with you at this time and hope everything is OK.” I had no idea what that meant. There also was a call from Terry Roberts, corporate lab manager. Just by the calls, I knew something was wrong.  I called Terry and he explained the situation. My first thought was, Oh, no, the blood bank.  The feelings while driving to the hospital were, No way and This can’t be real. Surreal is the word.