Hospitals across the South scrambled to maintain operations and treat patients after a series of powerful storms on Wednesday and early Thursday left hundreds dead and the region heavily damaged.
Southern storms leave hospitals scrambling
While 115-bed Cullman (Ala.) Regional Medical Center did not suffer any direct damage, the hospital was in a hard-hit area and treated 99 patients in its emergency department during the storms, Jim Weidner, the hospital's president and CEO, said in an interview.
Cullman Regional Medical Center officials activated the hospital's emergency preparedness system at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. “Because of that, we were well-prepared and we were able to handle the onslaught of patients,” Weidner said.
DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, Ala., treated about 600 patients in the hours since a mile-wide tornado cut through the area, Brad Fisher, a hospital spokesman, told local news affiliate WLBT. The 486-bed hospital suffered damage such as broken windows and was without water for six hours. Power was restored early Thursday morning, Fisher said.
The hospital had admitted nearly 100 people and five were reported dead as of Thursday morning, Fisher told WLBT. “Our numbers will increase today,” he said. “Business in the ED is steady, so we're not done.”
According to figures from the Alabama Hospital Association, approximately 1,500 people affected by the storms had received treatment at hospitals as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Of those, 266 were admitted and 13 deaths were reported.
"At this time, there are no reports of structural damage to hospitals that would affect their operations in treating patients, although several lost power temporarily, with a few still operating on generator power," according to the association.
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