Nurses sue Florida hospital alleging they were not warned of active shooter drill, and thought it was real

Two nurses at AdventHealth's TimberRidge emergency room in Ocala, Florida, have filed a lawsuit against the hospital alleging they were left traumatized after the hospital conducted a simulated active shooter exercise, but did not tell those attending the training it was part of a drill.

According to the lawsuit, the two nurses – Lauren Palazini and Dominique Tucker – attended a mandatory "Disaster Preparedness and Mass Casualty training session" at the hospital. The lawsuit states that as the training session was underway, the hospital "staged an unannounced 'active shooter' situation'; where a male employee carried what appeared to be a semiautomatic weapon, behaved like a mass shooter, and made loud noises that sounded like a gunshot, before he "burst into the training room and pointed his weapon at (the nurses) and other employees, and told everyone to get on the ground."

One of the nurses called 911.

The lawsuit said Palazini was "terrified, severely traumatized and in fear of her life, and she believed she was caught in the middle of a true active shooter situation," according to a draft of the lawsuit. They also allege that they were told 10 minutes later that it was part of a drill.

In a statement, AdventHealth said the lawsuit "specifically refers to a single incident in 2021, which was one segment of a larger comprehensive safety training for a group of nursing students. We have addressed this instance to ensure a standard process is followed consistently and continue to worth with industry experts to make our training as effective as possible at protecting our teams and patients."

Each nurse is seeking $30,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit.

Marion County Sheriff Lt. Paul Bloom conducts active shooter demonstrations and said this is not how they're supposed to be done.

"Throwing someone in the deep end of the swimming pool is not how you learn to swim. There's a better method. Teaching somebody about a very scary, very real threat in our society today needs to be approached with caution and respect for the person that you're teaching,' he said.