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HomeNewsFlorida hospitals report evacuations, lockdowns and water outages

Florida hospitals report evacuations, lockdowns and water outages

Hurricane Ian has pressured a number of Florida hospitals to evacuate sufferers and place employees members on lockdown as amenities deal with energy outages and demanding disruptions to water provides.

Mary Mayhew, the CEO of the Florida Hospital Affiliation, mentioned 16 hospitals throughout the state had evacuated or have been within the strategy of evacuating Thursday afternoon.

Some moved sufferers earlier this week when the hurricane was anticipated to make landfall within the Tampa Bay space, she mentioned. Hurricane Ian in the end made landfall close to Fort Myers, about 100 miles south of Tampa Bay, on Wednesday.

Emergency responders are involved about operations in Lee County, the place are a minimum of 9 hospitals are with out water, Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Administration Company, mentioned Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Lee Well being, one of many county’s largest well being methods, has evacuated extra 1,000 sufferers due to the disrupted water provide, Mayhew mentioned.

“A hospital can’t safely care for his or her sufferers with out water, and they’re within the strategy of working intently with native and state officers to evacuate their sufferers as a result of it’s unclear how quickly that water might be restored,” Mayhew mentioned.

Bodily harm to hospitals restricted

Few hospitals have sustained main bodily harm, however hurricane winds stripped a part of the roof from an intensive care unit at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte on Wednesday. Employees members moved critically sick sufferers to different flooring and mopped up the water with towels and plastic bins.

Fawcett mentioned in a press release that it evacuated its sickest sufferers earlier than the storm made landfall. It was transferring 160 extra sufferers to different hospitals after the roof harm induced leaks, it mentioned.

Kindred, a hospital system offering long-term acute care, additionally evacuated sufferers from areas in Tampa and St. Petersburg on Wednesday. In whole, 44 sufferers have been moved by ambulance to a facility in central Tampa, mentioned Susan Feeney, Kindred’s division vp of communications. The hospital is ready on phrase from the state about when the sufferers might be transported again, she mentioned.

“They’re very, very sick sufferers,” Feeney mentioned. “A lot of them have a number of power situations, and a really massive proportion of our sufferers are ventilator-reliant.”

An Introduction Well being hospital in Tarpon Springs additionally transported sufferers to its sister amenities all through the Tampa Bay space Tuesday night. The sufferers are set to return to the Tarpon Springs location Friday, the hospital mentioned in a press release.

In the meantime, different hospitals are initiating emergency procedures. Flagler Well being in St. Johns County went on “mushy lockdown” Thursday morning, that means it’s closed to guests and gained’t be performing elective procedures.

Erin Wallner, a public info officer at Flagler Well being, mentioned round 350 staffers will spend the night time on cots. The hospital is provided with a 2-ton generator in case energy goes out, and it has positioned sandbags outdoors to guard towards flooding, she mentioned. All doorways have been locked, other than the emergency room entrance.

An air mattress in a staff office at Flagler Health
A mattress at Flagler Well being whereas the hospital is beneath “mushy lockdown.” Flagler Well being

Wallner mentioned a child was born throughout the lockdown.

“We discharged previous to the storm anybody that moderately could possibly be discharged,” she mentioned. “We had open coronary heart instances that have been simply performed previous to the storm, and so they’re right here and recovering safely.”

However new accidents from the hurricane may pose a further problem, Mayhew mentioned.

“There have been a whole lot of search and rescue operations underway, so I’d completely anticipate that our hospitals are beginning to see people arriving from these search and rescue operations that want hospital care,” she mentioned.

Mayhew mentioned harm to {the electrical} grid may additionally “have a ripple impact throughout the well being care system,” as a result of hospitals can’t safely discharge sufferers to houses or nursing amenities that do not have energy.

An escalating risk to Florida hospitals

Hurricane Ian could possibly be a preview of what Florida hospitals can count on within the coming many years.

A examine launched Thursday by researchers on the Harvard T.H. Chan College of Public Well being assessed flooding harm to Florida hospitals by way of the top of the century, assuming lower than 3 toes of sea stage rise.

The researchers decided {that a} Class 2 hurricane — a storm with winds of 96 to 110 mph that may uproot timber or harm roofs — may threaten entry to care in additional than 60 hospitals throughout six Florida metropolitan areas (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Jacksonville and Fort Myers).

No less than 21,000 hospital beds are in danger, the report discovered.

The examine’s senior creator, Dr. Aaron Bernstein, the interim director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE, a local weather change program, mentioned that though Florida hospitals have been well-prepared for hurricanes prior to now, future storms are more likely to be extra harmful.

“Fort Myers and the Tampa Bay space have invested rather a lot in hurricanes. They know hurricanes. Individuals in Florida grew up with them. The issue is that local weather change is making hurricanes in contrast to those that individuals have identified,” Bernstein mentioned.

One of many greatest challenges to hospital care throughout a storm is street entry, he mentioned.

Bernstein’s examine projected that each one roads inside a mile of hospitals in Punta Gorda are liable to flooding from a Class 2 storm by way of the top of the century. In Naples, round 99% of such roads are more likely to be flooded. And in metro Miami, it’s 72%.

Bernstein mentioned cities have a tendency to construct hospitals “within the picture of Fort Knox” to arrange for hurricanes by stockpiling provides and erecting sea partitions and submarine doorways. However such safeguards aren’t as helpful if roads are closed, he mentioned: “You possibly can construct Fort Knox, however should you can’t get there, what good is it?”

Proscribing entry to hospitals may have lasting well being results, he added, past storm-related deaths.

“While you lower off well being care entry, any power medical situation might worsen, as a result of folks aren’t getting care,” he mentioned. “Even with out the care entry being completely compromised, we see people who’ve the least means actually struggling, as a result of they’re attempting to afford repairing their dwelling or further bills and so they sacrifice their well being.”

A 2019 examine discovered that lung most cancers sufferers who have been uncovered to a hurricane whereas they have been receiving radiation had worse survival charges than sufferers who weren’t uncovered. The danger of loss of life elevated the longer the catastrophe stretched on.

Mayhew mentioned Hurricane Ian’s aftermath may put weak folks in an much more weak place.

“It’ll be weeks earlier than the harm is totally understood, and it might take months to revive the infrastructure,” she mentioned. “That stage of uncertainty is daunting in terms of ensuring that you just’ve bought 24/7 well being care operations up and working.”

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