Hurricanes and Hospitals

Living a quarter mile from the beach, at sea level, on Hilton Head Island, SC, you can trust me when I tell you that I take hurricanes seriously. You see, my wife lied to me.  She told me before we moved here that because HHI is “tucked in,” it never gets hit by a hurricane. Scroll forward. Early in our stay here, along comes Matthew. Evacuation, 144,000 trees toppled in the area, etc. Months for full recovery.

But Hell, we’re easy. We’re mobile. We throw the two Havanese dogs in the back of the Land Rover and off we go on an “evacucation.” For Matthew, we visited some friends on the Atlanta Country Club. For Dorian a month ago, we headed to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. We come back when the all clear is sounded. Not all bad!

But. What happens if you are the administrator of a hospital or nursing home and have to figure out what to do with a few hundred brittle patients? Shelter in place? Evacuate? Where? How?

Check this out.  If I were the administrator of one of these institutions, I would be very glad to know that research like that described in this piece is being conducted. I would simplylove to have data and analytics that provide me with some guidance in terms of the best thing to do with my inpatients to ensure their safety.  Sure, I would still need to make some judgement calls, but it would be very nice to have these insights as a place to start!  

AND. It is not just inpatients. Every time there is a mandatory evacuation, our County Sheriff emphasizes that with the closing of the Hilton Head Hospital that comes with it, a major safety net is withdrawn from our community. Break an arm? Have a heart attack? Tough! There will be no first responders to come to get you and no place for them to take you.  

Bottom Line. I have always wondered how hospital and nursing home administrators make these tough decisions. It is great to know that somebody is doing the heavy intellectual lift of helping them to figure out what to do!

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