GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - How do you send a hot meal from 2,300 miles away? Local nurses in the Critical Care Unit of Tidelands Health Georgetown Memorial Hospital figured it out when they sent food to nurses at a Las Vegas hospital after the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
Responding to a mass casualty situation is challenging, both mentally and physically. Nurses, doctors, police officers, first responders and many others worked around the clock to care for the 500 people injured from the October 1st shooting. 50 people lost their lives.
Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas admitted 199 patients.
"We just wanted to reach out and let them know we were thinking of them," Catherine Gray, Clinical Director of the Critical Care Unit at Tidelands Health Georgetown Memorial Hospital said.
Gray worked with Denise Elliott, a registered nurse who has been working in Georgetown since 1995, to orchestrate the meal. They worked together to raise the money.
The pair called a Las Vegas Olive Garden who offered to waive a portion of the cost as well as the delivery fee.
"The team at the Olive Garden was wonderful from the very beginning," Gray said. "The manager agreed to help immediately."
Two meals were delivered - one for the day shift nurses and one for the night shift nurses. They enjoyed chicken parmigiana with a side of spaghetti, five-cheese ziti, iced tea, mini desserts, and of course, salad and breadsticks.
At the time of the delivery, Sunrise Hospital was still caring for 32 patients, 13 of them still in critical care.
Both Gray and Elliott are thankful things went smoothly.
"They just didn't have any idea that somebody from South Carolina, you know a little hopsital, would actually do something like this for them. So it was a great feeling," Gray said.
Nurses all share a common bond, Elliott says, "We all are here for the same reason which is to take care of people, so it was important to us to provide them with a hot meal and just show our support."
Nurses at the Sunrise Hospital were thankful for the meal...sending back a photo with a poster reading, "To Tidelands Health Georgetown Memorial ICU nurses, THANK YOU! #VegasStrong."
Elliott says the nurses all hope to organize something similar in the near future, perhaps around Christmas time. She says they feel connected to the other critical care nurses now and hope to some day meet in person.