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Published on February 02, 2011

Hospital Snow Emergency Response

February 2, 2011

On Tuesday night, the hospital accommodated many patients, visitors and staff who could not make it home; and a number of doctors, OR and cath lab staff remained in the hospital overnight to handle emergencies. Cots were set up in our conference room area for staff and visitors.

No emergency cardiac procedures or surgeries were needed, but there was an emergency C-section. The Emergency Room did treat two weather-related injuries: a patient with frost bite and another who had fallen outside.

The hospital began planning for the blizzard late Monday by arranging for hotel rooms and making sure doctors, other clinical staff and supplies would be available. A number of staff took advantage of the hotel rooms to get a few hours sleep before coming back to work. 

The hospital’s inpatient rooms are almost at capacity, and were before the storm hit, “As a result of pre-planning and the staff stepping up to help in an emergency situation, staffing levels for the inpatient areas and the Emergency Room are fine, including room service for meals,” said Heath Bell, Vice President and the administrator on-call.

Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich also is full and in good shape staff-wise.  More than 15 staff members spent the night at Valley West so they would be available.  

The Emergency Department staff is bracing for weather-related emergencies now that the snow has stopped and more people are traveling and shoveling and is encouraging people not to venture out to the Emergency Room unless it’s a true emergency.

Bell also said: “We really want to thank the city road crews who did a fantastic job getting the main thoroughfares cleared and even some neighborhoods. This really helped our employees get to work and emergency vehicles to get through,” Bell said. “The NIU police have made themselves available to transport students who may be patients back to campus, and DeKalb police picked up several employees and brought them to the hospital to work. Family members of staff are helping to transport employees to work as well. We are very grateful for everyone’s extra efforts.”

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