Southwest Florida hospitals are ready for Hurricane Dorian

In Southwest Florida, local hospitals are getting ready for Hurricane Dorian.

WINK News checked with several hospital. The hospitals all said they are ready. But there are things patients need to know before it is too late.

In Charlotte County, Bayfront Health told us:

Thanks to our emergency preparedness planning, Bayfront Health Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda are well-prepared to continue operations should Tropical Storm Dorian intensify and impact the state. Our staff is well-drilled, and we have assessed our supplies on-hand, checked fuel levels, and inspected our generator and battery to ensure all are ready. We also have arranged for back-up resources including water and external generators should they be needed. We have contacted our community’s first responders and disaster response team and will be in close communication with them through the holiday weekend. With landfall still days out, we encourage residents to review their own preparedness by taking action to stock their home and car with emergency supplies and think through their family’s disaster response plan to give themselves some peace of mind should the storm hit. It’s so much easier to think through the needed details while the weather is good!

In Collier County, NCH said:

NCH has a comprehensive hurricane plan that is well coordinated with Collier and Lee County Emergency Management and we are prepared to execute the plan as needed. We are following all updates related to the storm while we continue to operate “business as usual.”Our hurricane plan ensures adequate staffing levels of physicians, nurses and all other team members needed to provide quality care to our patients. Individuals are encouraged to contact Collier and Lee County Emergency Management for information related to medical emergencies that occur during the storm.

Lee Health reminds everyone that hospitals are not a shelter. It says in full:

  • Patients need to know:
    • When a hurricane is approaching-please make sure you have enough of your prescription medication to last for a week
    • If you are on home Oxygen-make sure you have enough to last for a week.
    • If you have medical records and prescriptions keep them in a water tight container and have them easily accessible in case of evacuation.
    • Keep identification records (drivers’ license, ID, Medicare cards-etc) in a water tight container and them have easily accessible in case of evacuation.
    • If you are pregnant and near your due date—Please contact you OB Provider to discuss arrangements for during the storm.
    • Stock up on non-perishable foods and water to last for seven days in case of power outages
    • Do not drive during the storm—If it’s not safe for EMS—it’s not safe for you.
  • If you experience a medical emergency—call 911. EMS is not able to run when the winds get to a certain speed—For more information in would be best to contact Betsy Clayton with Lee County for answers concerning 911 calls.
  • Viewers should be reminded that hospitals are not a shelter. Residents with special needs must pre-register with the county to makes sure they receive the resources they need during a storm.

We also checked with Lehigh Regional Medical Center. While no emergency plan is in effect, its CEO, Gary Bell, warns:

“Hospitals are equipped and are not built to be shelters to the general community. During the storm, if there’s a medical issue, patients should go to their emergency room.We’re monitoring the storm. Our plan is not in effect right now. We have diesel tanks for our generators. They’re full. We have oxygen tanks to take care of patients in the OR and on the floor. Absolutely full. We bring in extra water. We bring in extra food. Extra linen. Extra supplies in anticipation of the possibility of a major storm. Hospitals are not pharmacies. People need to look at their medications at home that they need. They need to make sure they have enough to last several days. Patients who are insulin-dependent need to be thinking ahead. How are they going to be keeping their insulin chilled? Patients on any kind of medicine need to be thinking right now to make sure they have enough to last them several days.”

Similarly, DeSoto Memorial and Hendry Regional Medical Center has emergency plans ready to take effect if needed.

The former said the following:

We have begun attending twice a day meetings at our Emergency Operations center for the State of Florida Hurricane Conference Calls.

DeSoto Memorial Hospital went on Code Brown alert at 3:50 today after giving our department directors an update on the upcoming Hurricane. This alert reminds staff to review the policies and procedures we have in place in the event of a storm. We have also encouraged our staff to get their families and homes prepared for Hurricane Dorian.

We have already begun preparing our facility for the storm. This includes cleaning up any debris that could potentially become projectiles in high winds.

We would like to let people know the DMH is not a shelter but we remain open for medical emergencies.

In the event of a serious storm, your scheduled ELECTIVE surgeries MAY be canceled as we do not want to discharge a patient post operatively to care for themselves in inclement weather.

It is important for people to know that after wind gusts reach a sustained 45 miles per hour, EMS and law enforcement do not respond to calls. Therefore, if you have a medical emergency before the storm, do not hesitate to call an ambulance or go to the Emergency Room. The last thing we want is people driving in hazardous weather. However, our ER will remain open for the duration of the storm.

While the latter told us:

Hendry Regional Medical Center is currently hardening our facilities in anticipation of Dorian. We continue to update our emergency plans and are currently gathering supplies in preparation of the potential hurricane. HRMC will remain open throughout the storm. We encourage patients to only travel to HRMC when it is safe, preferably after the storm has passed. We continue to watch weather updates and will update plans and make additional decisions as needed.

Reporter:Channing Frampton
Writer:Michael Mora
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