Staff members at Our Lady of the Lake discussed emergency plans this morning at the hospital's daily meeting and readied incident command teams, said Chief Operating Officer Terrie Sterling. Sterling said an incident last week with a tanker truck near the hospital provided staff with practice.
“We use this process whether it's a hurricane or if it's some other disaster,” Sterling said. “We take every opportunity to treat this as a learning experience.”
Part of the process involves an off-site safety officer who works with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. This officer relays information, such as if a hospital needs to evacuate and transfer patients to another facility.
Sterling adds that her staff of 5,000 has been divided into two: Team A and Team B. Team A consists of employees who are expected to report to work and stay until the disaster is declared over. Team B is the recovery team.
Staff at the 655-bed hospital also advises outpatients who are on ventilators or depend on other electrically powered devices to find a safe house outside the storm's path, Sterling added.
“Individuals who are in the medical profession, when they find themselves in these moments, I always believe they are at their best,” she also said. “This is what we do.”
Our Lady of the Lake's generator arrived in 2010 and will keep the hospital fully powered for several days. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Ochsner Medical Center was the only hospital that stayed open during the storm's duration in the greater New Orleans area, touts this video on the hospital's website.
The Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center, Houma, La., has canceled all outpatient clinics and elective surgeries for Tuesday and Wednesday as the region gears up for Tropical Storm Isaac.
Staff members at the 156-bed hospital say they’ll resume normal operations on Thursday, according to a news release. They’re also saying non-essential employees who are scheduled to work at 7 a.m. Tuesday won’t be required to report to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, unless otherwise notified.