National News

Orlando Health CEO: Pulse shooting has forever changed me

Posted June 15, 2016 6:52 p.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2016 10:43 a.m. EDT

Doctors at Orlando Regional Medical Center said Wednesday they are still treating 25 people who were injured in Sunday's massacre at Pulse nightclub. Six people remain in critical condition.

David Strong, the chief executive officer of Orlando Healthcare is the former president of Rex Healthcare in Raleigh and former chief operating officer of UNC Health Care.

Strong said the shooting on Sunday morning has forever changed him.

Many on his staff are now trying to sort through the emotions that come with so much trauma.

"4:53 a.m. was when I got the call," Strong said. "My first question was, is there anything I can do? All the key physicians said was, ‘We are running out of chest tubes,’ so I went to go find them."

Then came one of the toughest parts, notifying families of who survived and who did not.

"Those were very difficult conversations," Strong said.

Despite the difficulty, Strong said the conversations created incredible bonds. He said the most memorable was when he notified the family of the last surviving patient.

"I have been able to see them since we made that connection," he said. "That will be a relationship that I will remember for life."

It is the relationships that are helping him get through, providing a source of support and strength through a tragedy.

"I think that that's one of the things I like, I love about Rex, UNC, Orlando Health is the people in health care. They not only take care of patients, but they take care of each other," Strong said.