City native Dr. Ibrahim recalls last summer’s shooting in Orlando to ETSU students

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

June 12, 2016 will be a date that sticks to the mind of Dr. Joseph Ibrahim.

The Elizabethton native and East Tennessee State University graduate visited the region Tuesday and spoke with ETSU students in Johnson City as part of the Quillen College of Medicine’s Organization of Student Representative’s spring forum inside the Stanton-Gerber  Hall on ETSU’s VA campus. Dr. Ibrahim, the medical director at Orlando Health, was one of a handful of surgeons that treated more than 40 patients last year during the mass shooting that took place at Pulse Nightclub in downtown Orlando.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Actually one of the medical students reached out to me,” Ibrahim said prior to his presentation inside Stanton-Gerber Hall on ETSU’s VA campus. “They asked if I could speak at my alma mater and I was more than happy to do that. I was asked to talk about my experience in Florida during the shooting. I was actually here in the area on business so it worked out great.”

Dr. Ibrahim graduated from Elizabethton High School in 1995 and continued his schooling at ETSU – graduating from medical school in 2003 and finishing his residency in 2009.

During the night of the shooting, which took place at one of the most popular clubs for the LGBT community, trauma surgeons performed over 71 surgeries on those affected by the attack.

Orlando Health is the only Level 1 hospital located in Central Florida. The facility has 808 beds and features a 24/7 in-house trauma department. The facility does between 10 to 15 percent of penetrating trauma, Dr. Ibrahim said.

As of September 6, 2016 – each patient was discharged from the hospital from their wounds and are making a full recovery.

“The biggest thing we’ve taken out of that is the message of being prepared,” Ibrahim said about that day. “Everybody has to be prepared, not just the big metropolitan areas. Orlando, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t have a big downtown area. Over the last year, there’s been around 140 shootings around the country and it isn’t really well publicized. We saw a situation not too long ago in Blacksburg.

“The big initiative from the American College of Surgeons is to help communities get provided with the proper care for even non-medical people to put on tourniquet, pack wounds and pull pressure” he continued. “It’s something you can use in day-to-day in worst case issues.”

Dr. Ibrahim encouraged the public to visit to receive a free toolset of learning what they can do to prevent any worst case situation.

Along with the general message to the public, the Elizabethton native added he was excited to speak with students about the medical profession and about what ETSU has to offer.

“I just want to let them know I started right here on this very campus,” Ibrahim said. I grew up in Elizabethton and I never thought I’d be thrusted into the situations that I have been. But with the opportunities in front of them, they can take those and do whatever they want to do in life. Quillen College of Medicine offers so many different opportunities. Truth be told, I wasn’t the number one student in class, I did well but I wasn’t number one. I just worked hard, had great teachers, had great support and I’ve been blessed to be where I’m at now.”

During the event, Dr. Ibrahim presented a nine-minute video which saw numerous medical officials talk about this time during the incident and how the hospital has prepared for the future. While discussing the event, the message of the video also saw togetherness, with each individual talking about the importance of rallying together to support their community.