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Hospital thanks staff, community for support during hurricane

(September 8, 2011) Thanks to the support of dedicated staff and many organizations and individuals in the community Calvert Memorial Hospital was able to weather the recent hurricane and deliver uninterrupted healthcare services to those in need.

“In particular, we want to extend our gratitude and appreciation to local EMS and emergency management teams, power and data service companies like SMECO, Comast, AT&T, and Verizon, as well as our own hospital employees and medical staff,” said CMH President and CEO Jim Xinis.

“In the last two weeks our community has coped with an earthquake, tornado warnings and a category one hurricane - including the damage and power outages it left behind,” he said. “It is times like this when we are reminded of the fragile nature of the world around us. It also the time when we are reminded of the extraordinary power we have when we stand together in the face of adversity.”

“I know that many in our community sustained losses or had damage to their homes as a result of the storm,” said Xinis. “On behalf of the healthcare team at Calvert Memorial Hospital, our hearts go out to those who sustained significant impact. Our thoughts are with you and the many people who have been working round the clock to restore power, clear roadways and repair damages to houses and buildings.”

“When our community and our patients depend us, our employees – as always – rise to the occasion,” he added. “On behalf of our hospital leadership team and our board of directors, I want to thank them for their service and their dedication. Many of them made other arrangements for their own families in order to work extra in support of our hospital family – and that kind of sacrifice does not go unnoticed.”

In a situation like last weekend’s hurricane, every hospital department has an important role. From gearing up to ensure patient safety and continuity of care, calculating bed availability, manning the command center, preparing the building and grounds, ensuring supplies and medications are available, ordering and preparing extra meals, ensuring back-up systems for information systems and telecommunications, to answering calls and questions.

CMH clinical staff maintained smooth operations for patients, coming in early for shifts and sleeping on-site, ready to move patients away from windows and into hallways at a moment’s notice. Hospitalists and specialists worked extra shifts and even doctors who were not scheduled stayed in house to be sure the hospital had coverage. And the ER staff monitored the Maryland Emergency Management System while calmly caring for the lacerations, head injuries, broken bones and other storm-related injuries that came through the doors. Xinis said, “Special kudos goes to the clinical coordinators who went above and beyond to keep services running smoothly.”

He went on to add, “Our plant operations team did a great job keeping the facility running.” In addition to responding to unforeseen leaks and the power outage, they maintained the exterior of the building even during the height of the storm – including pumping water from a collapsed storm drain and cutting up dangerous fallen trees throughout the night.

The environmental services team worked hand-in-hand with plant operations to identify problems and quickly clean up areas as needed.

In addition to their normal job of providing patient meals, the hospital’s dietary team prepared extra food and opened for dinner on both Saturday and Sunday to be sure staff and visitors who were stuck in the building had a place to eat.

Security helped maintain the safety of the campus and coordinate operations in the incident command center. They visited satellite buildings to check on them and were the go-to people for questions all over the campus. They also helped with dispersing emergency supplies and inflating air mattresses for staff that stayed overnight.

The hospital’s IT staff worked through the night on Sunday, collaborating with Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and SMECO to restore telephone and data connections to all the health system entities as quickly as possible. In fact, at 2 p.m. they were still re-engineering alternate connections to make sure our Twin Beaches satellite was ready to open Monday morning.

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