Hurricane Response

Hurricane Response Highlights

After three active hurricane seasons in a row, Florida’s hospitals are not only prepared to handle logistics such as patient evacuation and flooding mitigation, but they also are ready for surprises. Dedicated caregivers and hospital teams stay on the job – before, during and after the storm – helping their patients, colleagues and communities.

Free e-Care Visits

Several hospitals waived e-Care visit fees during Hurricane Dorian. AdventHealth provided nearly 300 free e-Care visits to Floridians during Hurricane Dorian’s impact. These virtual visits are typically $49, but during Hurricane Dorian, anyone in Florida could use the app for free, live and secure telehealth consultations with AdventHealth medical providers who could diagnose urgent health problems and recommend treatment.

Health First Nurse Gives Birth at Hospital During Dorian

Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center nurse Laura Suazo gave birth to baby Penelope at the hospital during Hurricane Dorian. She volunteered to work in the hospital during the storm and went into labor Monday night. Penelope Suazo was born at 9:17 a.m. Tuesday, September 3, weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce and measuring 19 inches long.

Mom, husband and baby are all doing well. Ms. Suazo said, “I was in the perfect place to have my baby and was so glad to be here in the hospital. I was definitely surprised I went into labor three weeks early but had an absolutely wonderful experience.”

AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach Evacuates Facility But Keeps Emergency Room Open

Even after inpatients were transported to sister facilities before Hurricane Dorian’s arrival, the emergency department team at AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach stayed behind to keep the emergency room open. A full team was onsite during the storm including physicians, nurses, technicians from lab and x-ray and respiratory therapists. The team cared for more than 160 patients with a wide variety of conditions during the storm, including the mayor who rolled his ankle.

Baptist Health Nurse Accompanies Patient in Ambulance

Dee Harrington, assistant nurse manager at Baptist Medical Center Nassau, traveled in an ambulance with her patient from Baptist Nassau to Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville when the hospital was evacuated for Hurricane Dorian. Though Ms. Harrington has been working at Baptist Health for nearly 17 years, this was her first trip with a patient to prepare for a hurricane.

“The entire process was seamless. The ambulances were waiting in a line, and the patient was loaded easily,” said Ms. Harrington. “We had a smooth ride, and when we arrived at Baptist Jacksonville, other team members were ready to greet us. We unloaded, and a room was ready for the patient so he didn’t have to wait.”

Ms. Harrington introduced the patient to the new nurses who would be taking care of him and stayed until he was fully settled and comfortable. As the other nurses and patients from Baptist Nassau arrived at Baptist Jacksonville, she helped unload and pitch in wherever needed. When all the patients were in the care of the team at Baptist Jacksonville, the nurses rode in the ambulance back to Baptist Nassau.

“My advice to other nurses who have to do this would be to remain calm and reassure your patient that everything is organized and planned,” Ms. Harrington explained. “Be familiar with the other hospital, know your procedures for evacuations and keep paperwork on hand at all times. Be confident and relay this to the patient.”