Today marks eight years since the Pulse nightclub massacre, the second deadliest mass shooting in United States history. During the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) received an influx of 44 victims. Not one of the 35 victims who made it to the hospital alive was lost. Now eight years later, the hospital is unveiling its newly expanded Level One Trauma Center that was redesigned based on input from physicians and nurses who treated the Pulse survivors.

“Every patient from Pulse that made it into the operating room survived. Every single one,” said Dr. Joseph Ibrahim, Orlando Health ORMC trauma surgeon who treated the Pulse survivors. “A major reason for that is because of the preparation in our Trauma Center. This new expansion will provide significant surge capacity for a mass casualty incident, but also in the day-to-day trauma needs for Central Florida.”

Orlando Health ORMC is the proud home of Central Florida’s only Level One Trauma Center. Thanks to generous donors from across the region, this transformation more than doubles the size of the Trauma Center. The significant addition of surge space allows the trauma center team to rapidly add 10 more treatment areas in a mass casualty situation.

The new Trauma Center design was inspired by physicians and nurses who treated the Pulse survivors. They donned virtual reality headsets to point out invaluable insight on where the top-of-line technology, equipment and supplies should be located throughout the trauma bay. The Trauma Center expansion is just one part of Orlando Health’s $25 million endeavor, fully-funded through philanthropy, to renovate the hospital’s entire emergency department which is expected to be completed by early 2025.

“We are extremely appreciative of our community’s generosity and for their support of the trauma care we provided to the Pulse survivors and all of our patients,” said Dr. Tracy Zito, trauma surgeon and Medical Director of Orlando Health ORMC’s Trauma Center. “It doesn’t take a tragedy like Pulse to fill our trauma bay. Our population in Central Florida is growing quickly and some nights, we’ve had the trauma bay full from car crashes and gunshot victims. This expansion helps us continue our mission of serving our community during those critical times when help is needed the most.”

This expansion marks the first redesign of Orlando Health ORMC’s Level One Trauma Center since it was built more than 30 years ago. With Central Florida’s growing healthcare needs and lessons learned during the Pulse tragedy in mind, Orlando Health enhanced the hospital’s critical care capabilities by equipping the Trauma Center with the tools and space needed for caregivers to treat patients today and well into the future. Orlando Health ORMC stands ready and waiting to treat the most life-threatening injuries and help patients return to their families and communities.