Metro Weekly

Orlando hospitals won’t charge Pulse shooting victims for treatment

Orlando Health and Florida Hospital will absorb $5.5 million in healthcare costs for victims

Pulse Orlando memorial, Photo: Pulse Orlando's Facebook page.

Pulse Orlando memorial, Photo: Pulse Orlando’s Facebook page.

Two Orlando hospitals have wiped the bills of survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting. In total, Orlando Health and Florida Hospital have announced they will write off an estimated $5.5 million in accumulated costs, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

“The pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community,” said Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong. “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 — is just a couple of blocks from Pulse nightclub and handled the vast majority of victims who made it out of the club on June 12. Of the 44 people brought to the hospital, nine died shortly after arrival. Their families will also not be billed for any expenses. Neither will the one victim who remains hospitalized there.

Florida Hospital will go further. While Orlando Health will bill insurance companies and pay any expenses not covered by policies, Florida Hospital — which treated 12 Pulse victims — won’t even bill insurance companies. They will also absorb the costs of any follow-up surgeries that victims may require.

It was incredible to see how our community came together in the wake of the senseless Pulse shooting,” Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital’s president and CEO, said. “We hope this gesture can add to the heart and goodwill that defines Orlando.”

For those impacted by the brutal tragedy that struck Pulse nightclub, the generosity of both hospitals offers one less thing to worry about.

“I was so worried because I can’t afford any of that,” Mario Lopez, who is uninsured and was grazed by bullet fragments and fell onto glass, told the Sentinel. He faced a $20,000 bill for the seven hours he spent in hospital. “My life was turned upside down, and then I had to worry about how I was going to pay back the hospital.”

Knowing he will no longer have to foot the bill? “It’s a huge relief.”

Related: Exclusive Interview with the Drag Queens of Pulse Nightclub

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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