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Hurricane Michael ravages Gulf Coast, damages hospitals

The death toll stood at 11 Friday and two hospitals had been badly damaged, forced to evacuate.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesPhoto by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Early reports of major hospital damage came in roughly 24 hours after Hurricane Michael roared ashore in the Florida Panhandle. The Category 4 storm pummeled the region, not far from Panama City, with catastrophic wind, torrential rain and flooding. 

THE IMPACT

On Friday the death toll stood at 1, according to public reports, and at least two hospitals were evacuated the day before Michael made landfall, and hundreds of thousands are without power. 

SPREADING THE WORD

Bay Medical Sacred Heart Hospital used Twitter and Facebook to tell the public that it windows were broken, exterior wall cracked and the roof was damaged. Staff had to move patients to safe areas.

"Our hospital has sustained damage including windows blown out, cracking of an exterior wall, and roof damage. Our generators are working and our patients have been migrated to safe areas of the hospital. Our team is continuing to assess the damage," the hospital said.

Thursday morning the hospital posted on Facebook that a team was working to establish a disaster medical assistance team on hospital property to provide medical care to the community and were planning to evacuate patients.

"Assuming that roads are passable, we anticipate the DMAT to be operational by the end of the day on Friday or earlier. Additionally, we have worked throughout the night to secure a safe, orderly evacuation plan beginning with 39 critical care patients that will be transferred by emergency air services to regional facilities. We expect the evacuation of all patients to take at least 48 hours. Patients have been, and will continue to be, evaluated by our medical team to determine the order of evacuation," the hospital said.

HURRICANE MICHAEL HITS OTHER HOSPITALS

The New York Times reported that Gulf Coast Medical Center was also currently in the process of closing. Temporary hospitals were being set up to care for the injured and in total four hospitals and 11 nursing homes had closed. A nursing home in Georgia had also closed.

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf suspended operations Tuesday and evacuated patients, leaving teams on site to maintain their equipment, generators and mitigate storm damage. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast also evacuated most patients.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com

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