This article was originally published on ButlerEagle.com.
In the aftermath of the tragedy in Las Vegas, a local nurse anesthetist decided she wanted to do something for the medical professionals in Las Vegas who treated those injured that night.
Kim Wysocki of Bradford Woods is a nurse anesthetist at UPMC Presbyterian and said that after she heard about all the support that was sent to Las Vegas in the weeks after the Oct. 1 shooting, she wanted to make sure the medical professionals also felt supported and appreciated.
“We were able to buy lunch for surgeons and anesthetists at University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital,” she said. “It went really well.”
Wysocki and some of her co-workers began collecting donations and quickly realized they would easily reach their goals.
“After everything that happened, everyone was touched by the tragedy,” she said. “I was hoping for $1,000 and got around $2,500.”
Her goal was to buy lunch for 150 medical personnel at each hospital.
“We probably had way too much,” she said. “But I guess too much is better than not enough.”
Organizers of the fundraising drive said it was easy for the UPMC staff, who are experienced in treating trauma patients, to empathize with medical professionals in Las Vegas who did their best to treat a flood of patients, many with traumatic injuries.
“The loss of these lives touched us in a way that we as practitioners can relate to the clinicians in the Las Vegas hospitals,” said Helen DeFranco, CRNA, clinical director of the Department of Anesthesia at UPMC. “We have walked in their shoes, we have dealt with life and death and we understand the lasting effect from these clinical experiences. These times take a toll on all of us and impact tremendously.”
Treating patients with traumatic injuries is a difficult task, especially when those patients number in the hundreds, DeFranco said.
“Chaos is an understatement when only a couple trauma patients come in,” she said. “I got the idea we could buy them lunch and show them our appreciation and respect for what they do.”
Wysocki coordinated with staff at both hospitals to plan for the purchase and delivery of the food.
“I have worked from coast to coast at large trauma centers. This particular act of good will by Kim is touching and rewarding,” DeFranco said. “It has strengthened us as a team at Presby.”