Lowcountry hospitals prepare for impacts from Hurricane Florence

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- News 2 checked in with MUSC, Roper St. Francis, and Trident Health to take a closer look at their hurricane preparations.

Chief Operating Officer of MUSC Health, Matt Wain, says, “A lot of it’s logistics, insuring that we’ve got pre-orders on supplies, and pharmaceuticals, and food, and water, and all the essentials so we can continue to take care of patients and their families.”

MUSC may be taking on more Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients.

Wain says, “We’re also preparing for contingencies for other communities in South Carolina and North Carolina that might need the unique ability that MUSC Health can provide.”

All three hospitals have plenty of staff on hand to keep the hospital running. This goes beyond doctors and nurses to employees like engineers to make sure essential resources, like power, stay available.

Roper Hospital’s Engineering Manager, Mark Cartwright, says, “All of us will be on staff and, in fact, we will also contract out to make sure we have a diesel mechanic on site in case one of the diesels goes down and has to bring it up immediately.”

Roper has multiple backup generators that are tested weekly and can power the hospital for up to seven days. In a hospital setting, power is life saving.

Cartwright says, “They all have to shift within eight seconds. The reason for that is anyone who is on a ventilator, anyone who is on life support, that eight seconds could be life or death, so it’s absolutely time critical for us to shift to emergency power.”

Their hurricane supply room stores 2,000 gallons of drinking water and another 2,000 gallons for sanitation. Plus, air mattresses, cots, rain gear, and more to prepare for every possible scenario.

Trident Health says the main focus during the storm will be on patients already in the hospital and they have another shift of doctors prepared to handle any aftermath.

CEO of Trident Health, Todd Gallati, says, “As soon as the storm clears we begin to see our emergency department getting busy, EMS turning on again, often during the storm they can’t because of the winds, so that’s when we get a potential influx.”

As of Tuesday, all emergency rooms and main hospital facilities plan to stay open through the storm. Trident Medical Center’s Physician Practice Offices are closed. Open Roper St. Francis facilities can be found here. MUSC is offering free virtual care services during the storm, use the code “MUSCFLO” here. This is for non-emergency, non-life threatening conditions only.

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