Hospitals in Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth area worked around the clock Thursday and Friday to prepare for and shelter hundreds of patients who were evacuated from hospitals along the Texas coast prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ike, which was expected to make landfall Friday evening.
The National Hurricane Center reports that the hurricane was approximately 600 miles across and is predicted to strike near Galveston, Texas, then move inland toward Houston.
According to Pam Crowther, communications specialist at Seton Family of Hospitals, as of 3:30 p.m. Friday, The Seton system is caring for approximately 177 patients displaced by Hurricane Ike. Crowther reports that operations are running smoothly thanks to emergency planning and previous experience with hospital re-locations during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.A helicopter delivers patients from the Texas coast.
The patients are being placed at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Seton Medical Center Austin, Seton Medical Center Williamson, Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital in Luling, Seton Northwest Hospital and University Medical Center Brackenridge. The majority of patients are at Seton Medical Center Austin and at University Medical Center Breckenridge.
According to Crowther, many patients evacuated from the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston were accompanied by UTMB nurses. Seton is outfitting the old Ronald McDonald House near UMC Brackenridge with 20 beds to house medical volunteers, if necessary. Other volunteers are being housed at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital.
The Children’s Health Express, a mobile clinic program of Dell Children’s Medical Center, is set to provide services to families with children who are sheltered at the Austin Convention Center and other shelters across the city. The Children’s Health Express will help reduce the number of illnesses and injuries that would otherwise come to the Dell Children’s Emergency Department. The mobile clinic will be staffed with a pediatrician, clinical assistant, LVN and nurse practitioner and is equipped with a pharmacy for necessary pediatric prescriptions, according to Crowther.
Dozens of Seton Family of Hospital non-clinical associates have signed up to work behind the scenes to help meet the needs of Hurricane Ike evacuees. More evacuees are expected to arrive at Setons EDs after the hurricane.
For more behind-the-scenes photos of Hurricane Ike efforts at Seton, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/setonfamily/sets/72157607250713931/.