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Wow, what a week! My family vacation was last week in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Yes, we knew that Hurricane Florence was coming, but we were hopeful it would turn north and spare the South Carolina coast.
Obviously, we were wrong and ended up under a mandatory evacuation order by Tuesday. We were lucky that we got home without encountering any severe weather all because of proper planning and communication by the Myrtle Beach Emergency Services Team.
When potentially catastrophic events like this occur, Wilson Medical Center is at its best. I am so impressed with the hard work and planning and the attitudes of our staff as they sprang into action when it was apparent that Florence was going to hit the area. Provisions were made for staff to sleep in the hospital before and after their shift to ensure their safety and to provide adequate staffing for our patients.
We worked with our physicians to make sure arrangements were made to ensure their availability throughout the storm. We also kept communication open with the Wilson County Office of Emergency Management and placed a staff member at their office to stay informed of any changes in the storm as well as local conditions affecting our community.
We had plenty of food, water and supplies, and steps were taken to ensure that we would be ready if we were asked to help with patients from evacuated hospitals along the coast.
Weather-related events are so important to hospitals, and emergency preparedness is a necessity. This is an activity rarely seen by most of the community but is essential. The ability to respond to a local, regional or state-wide emergency is a critical function of any hospital. And Wilson Medical Center was able to do this while continuing to offer the medical care needed to those who required our services.
Thank goodness an emergency response is needed very rarely. But it is nice to know that if needed, Wilson Medical Center is there to fully support the community in any time of need.
Ron Stahl, M.D., is the chief medical officer at Wilson Medical Center.