Florida Hospital CEO Daryl Tol describes how his team and community rallied to deliver much-needed supplies to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The day after (Hurricane Maria) hit, I started to hear from our team. I got emails from many individuals who had family impacted that they weren't hearing from them. They were fearful. They were concerned.
People started developing an energy to do something and that was tremendous. It started most specifically with an initial group of emergency physicians and emergency residents who decided they needed to be the first on the ground. We started to coordinate logistics with them.
A reporter from Cox Media, our ABC affiliate, who is from Puerto Rico and was on the ground, started talking with our physicians. The affiliate joined forces with us, and to have that public access point to get the whole community rallying behind a cause like Puerto Rico was critical.
We were able to get great media coverage and mobilize the community to come out. In addition to regular gathering points, we did two big Sunday events where it was well-publicized—kind of blasted out across our community—and gathered many containers and truckloads full of materials for Puerto Rico.
I can tell you that in the first few days of these activities, I didn't even really think about the cost side. I actually had physicians and others express later how surprised they were that we were just rolling. They expected us to be setting some limits and trying to manage expenses. Later on, we did set some fairly generous guidelines, and we stayed well within those.
But the fact is that something that's tremendously helpful to Puerto Rico after a storm is well within our capability to provide without harming the organization. And we have a bias for generosity. It's just kind of part of our wiring.