By Linda Chion
Bland Eng, the outgoing chief executive officer of HCA Florida Brandon Hospital, is taking with him memories and mementoes, including an award from the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce and lessons learned in the wake of a historic health pandemic.
Eng, who succeeded outgoing CEO Mike Fencil in 2012, leaves Brandon to start his new duties as chief development officer for HCA’s Fort Myers market.
At the podium on March 31 at the Sheraton Tampa Brandon Hotel, Eng thanked attendees at the chamber’s annual meeting for the time he spent as a volunteer member and treasurer for the chamber board of directors. Upon receiving a chairman’s award from outgoing Chair Jennifer Lopez, the FishHawk resident talked about his love for the community and what he called the two most difficult years of his career to date.
“I don’t remember a time where I’ve gotten so many calls from people in the community who I knew who were sick,” Eng said in an interview after the meeting about the enduring impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on health care workers. “Probably the most heart-wrenching thing was there were people in the community who did not make it. There were some fantastic success stories, but that made it all that much harder when people you know, people you care about, people you knew through the chamber, did not.”
The community offered great support, Eng said, including people who donated food and services and held signs outside the hospital thanking health care workers for their care and compassion. He said he often is asked, “How do nurses do it? How do you do it?”, and the answer is simple.
“We all went into health care because we wanted to serve people in need,” Eng said, “and to be there for our communities.”
During his Brandon tenure, Eng oversaw the recruitment of physicians and specialists, building upgrades and additions and a myriad of new services, including for pediatric emergencies, reconstructive surgery and comprehensive stroke treatments. The outgoing CEO takes special note of the ‘A’ Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade Brandon received in the fall for a sixth consecutive time.