After Hurricane Ian’s destruction cut off water supplies, hundreds of hospital patients were evacuated from hospitals throughout the Fort Myers area on Thursday.
One local hospital started evaluating the extent of the ferocious winds’ damage, including roof damage and flooding in the emergency department.
Due to flood waters, other healthcare systems in Ian’s path, from the state’s Gulf coast to the Atlantic, were also relocating patients.
At least nine hospitals in southwest Florida experienced the opposite issue, whereas the case in much of the state was too much water.
“We have one large health system in southwest Florida without water in all of their facilities. And so they are fast approaching a point where they will not be able to take care of their patients safely. So that is an urgent focus to get those patients transferred,” said Mary Mayhew, the president of the Florida Hospital Association.
Further 1,200 patients were being evacuated, according to Mayhew.
Other hospitals may see more stress in the interim, she said.
According to a doctor who works there, Hurricane Ian overwhelmed HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte from above and below, with the storm surge flooding its lower-level emergency room and strong winds tearing part of its fourth-floor roof from the critical care unit.
We expected the storm to make things hectic, said Dr. Birgit Bodine, who spent the night at the hospital, “but we didn’t foresee that the roof would blow off on the fourth floor.”
The hospital’s sickest patients, some of whom were on ventilators, were evacuated to different floors on Wednesday when water spilled down from above onto the ICU.
Staff members turned to towels and plastic containers to try to clean up the soggy mess.
The medium-sized hospital has four floors, but due to the damage, patients were restricted to just two.