Okla. Hospitals Treat Influx of Patients; Power Returns - @ JEMS.com

Okla. Hospitals Treat Influx of Patients; Power Returns


Nora Froeschle | | Thursday, December 13, 2007

TULSA, Okla.-- All area hospitals were operating on full power by Tuesday morning, and all saw an influx of patients, especially in their emergency rooms.

St. Francis Hospital had an average of five to 10 ambulances arrive every 30 minutes on Monday, said Sevan Roberts, hospital spokeswoman.

When city of Tulsa activated MERC (Medical Emergency Response Center), they did have to call in extra staff and more physicians, Roberts said of the emergency room. At one point, they got 10 in 10 minutes.

The usual average for ambulance arrivals is around three to five per hour, she said.

MERC is part of EMSA, said Kelly Deal, the director of the Metropolitan Medical Response System that is overseeing the center s operations.

It s a tool that the city uses to organize the medical response to major incidents, he said. It allows us to communicate and coordinate so we re not overloading a single facility or the whole system.

For example, when one hospital lost a generator that was providing its vacuum power, the representatives of each hospital at the center starting making calls to see if portable units could be supplied, but a generator was located.

Southcrest Hospital ran on diesel generators for 12 hours on Monday.

They automatically kick in. You see a blink of the lights, and that s how you know you ve gone to generator power, said Melissa Bogle, hospital spokeswoman.

Some nonessential areas of the Southcrest campus, such as the physician office building, did not have power, she said.

Bogle said Southcrest was seeing an influx of patients, and seven ambulances had arrived within an hour Tuesday morning.

Many people came to the hospitals for illnesses for which they would have seen their doctors, but many physicians offices were without power.

St. Francis Hospital s main location at 61st Street and Yale Avenue never lost power, although St. Francis Hospital South s electric power was out for several hours Monday until around noon, said Donna Swaffer, hospital spokeswoman.

We are operating extremely well, Swaffer said Tuesday. We re pretty well staffed, but we are making special arrangements for people who need accommodations.

About 25 St. Francis staff members stayed at the hospital Monday night, Swaffer said.

They are staying in one of our buildings adjacent to the hospital, she said. We have capacity for over 50 to stay, and we provide linens, toiletries and child care if they need it -- and food.

St. John Medical Center went down to partial electric power at 1:30 a.m. Monday, then lost all electric power shortly before noon. Power was fully restored at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Cheena Pazzo, spokeswoman for the hospital.

St. John Owasso, Sapulpa and the Jane Phillips Medical Center in Bartlesville also are fully operational, according to a press release from St. John.

Eric Magnussen, spokesman for Cancer Treatment Centers of America, said power to the facility was lost around 5 a.m. but was restored by 3 p.m. Monday.

Thankfully, we have a diesel generator, so all of the inpatient rooms remained on full power, he said.

It brought our staff together more than anything, he said. Everyone really bonded together to serve the patients that are here.

CTCA had a total of 29 people overnight Monday, including some people from the community.

Hillcrest Healthcare System got full power back at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, and OSU Medical Center never lost it, said Beth Ann Wallace, spokeswoman for both facilities and Bailey Medical Center in Owasso.

OSU Medical Centerwas nearing patient capacity with 220 as of Tuesday afternoon, but beds still were available at the hospital, Wallace said.

Bailey Hospital in Owasso is operating at full power and has bed availability, she said. And their emergency department is fully staffed and ready to see patients.

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