Two Orlando hospitals have announced they will not bill survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting for providing medical assistance during the tragedy. The move will write off a total of about $5.5 million in hospital bills.
“The pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community,” Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong told the Orlando Sentinel. “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.”
Orlando Health’s main hospital, Orlando Regional Medical Center, treated 44 of the dozens of victims of the worst mass shooting in American history. Nine patients died at the hospital after arrival. The facility is located blocks away from the nightclub.
The company says they will bill the insurance for anyone with coverage, but any out-of-pocket expenses will be absorbed by the medical providers. The families of those who died will also not be charged.
Florida Hospital, however, will not charge insurance providers for the care already received and will cover any follow-up surgeries and doctor visits for survivors.
“It was incredible to see how our community came together in the wake of the senseless Pulse shooting,” said Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital’s president and CEO. “We hope this gesture can add to the heart and goodwill that defines Orlando.”
Mario Lopez was one of those treated after the attack and the cost of his medical care alone topped $20,000. Lopez was grazed by a bullet that exploded into his left side; his elbow was also severely injured on a large shard of glass when he fell to the floor.
“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,” he said. “I was so worried because I can’t afford any of that.”