Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Area Hospitals Pushed on through the Storm

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Area Hospitals Pushed on through the Storm

Article excerpt

On a day when the blizzard was turning all aspects of life upside- down, Oklahoma's hospitals were charged with retaining as much normality as possible.

Most hospitals can't close their doors, so their emergency management plans were enacted to a degree that hadn't been seen in a while. Since the Christmas Eve snowstorm, hospital administrators have been going over what worked, planning for the future and saying thanks to those who helped keep everything running.

"Mother Nature dealt us a hard blow," said Linda Fanning, chief nursing officer at Mercy Health Center. "You never like it when it happens on a holiday, but when it does, you know how to react. We had lots of heroes that day."

Employees, as well as relatives and friends of employees, with four-wheel-drive vehicles braved the weather to pick up other staff members who couldn't get to work, Fanning said. Other employees who had already worked their own 12-hour shifts volunteered to stay for another to cover for those who couldn't make it in.

Fanning said the plan worked well. The only thing they would do differently next time is update the list of blizzard-appropriate vehicles so those people can be contacted first, she said.

Mercy also planned ahead for early transport of patients to different areas, whether it was back to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility or to the patient's home. The patient census that day was 167, which was low, she said. But physicians and nurses worked to get patients where they needed to go while it was still safe to travel, she said.

For the employees who spent an unplanned night at Mercy, there was plenty of support.

"The sisters in our convent helped with a place to sleep, and the people in Food and Nutrition made sack lunches," Fanning said.

Jan Ramsdell, evening shift supervisor in clinical nutrition, began her workday at 11 a. …

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