CarolinaEast Health System Fares Well During Hurricane Irene

Credit Preparedness and Dedicated Team for Effectively Continuing Operations.

CarolinaEast Health System and its flagship, CarolinaEast Medical Center, fared well during the recent hurricane that challenged the entire eastern North Carolina region.            
   “It was the dedication of our incredible team and the support we receive from our community and those we serve that brought us through this difficult time,” said Ray Leggett, President and CEO of CarolinaEast Health System. “Our employees were diligent in their efforts to care for our patients, our facility and each other. I am very proud of the CarolinaEast team.”            
   “We began our preparedness early in the week making sure our physical plant was secure and we could maintain operations if we lost municipal support,” explained Megan McGarvey, Director, Public Relations. “We are required to be able to operate for a minimum of 96 hours if we had to do so as ‘an island.’”            
   Preparations include stocking pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, water and food for patients and employees, fuel for generators, a water supply for plant operations, etc. “We have a specific protocol we follow when preparing for inclement weather or any unforeseen event,” explained McGarvey. “We bring in personnel and physicians early if necessary to insure we will have appropriate staff coverage during the emergency situation if conditions make travel hazardous. We were fully staffed during Hurricane Irene.”
   According to McGarvey, during the height of the storm it was eerily quiet in the halls of CarolinaEast Medical Center, however, once the storm passed, the activity level, particularly in the Emergency Department, has quickly increased. “Immediately following the storm we began receiving patients. While we did see some storm related injuries at that time, most turning to us for care were those with a myriad of illnesses such as headache, nausea, chest pains, motor vehicle accidents, etc. Some were very ill. They had needed care but could not get to us during the storm,” said McGarvey.            
   Sunday morning saw the steady flow of storm related clean-up injuries begin to arrive. “We are treating extremity injuries, lacerations and falls. We anticipate we will treat several snake bites, insect bites, and more lacerations.”            
   Emergency Department officials at CarolinaEast stress extreme caution for residents facing clean-up after the storm. They encourage wearing proper protective equipment such as gloves and safety glasses, to watch for snakes and follow manufacturer’s operating guidelines when operating power tools. “We are standing ready to care for you if you need us but we would prefer you not need us at this time. Please be safe,” stressed McGarvey.           
   “I am pleased to report that, thanks to our employees and community confidence, it is business as usual at CarolinaEast,” said Leggett.

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