The emergency room at St. Catherine’s Medical Center saw an increase in traffic during Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday and took on numerous new patients, doing so on back-up power.
The patients, however, weren’t admitted for hurricane related injuries.
“We saw a surge in emergency room activity over the weekend, it was largely because of the closure of several of the south shore hospitals … patients were being diverted form other communities. It wasn’t a large percentage of people who were impacted by the storm but by people who have medical emergencies,” said Paul Barry, spokesperson for Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
Much of the traffic came from evacuees from Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. Among the evacuees who were under the care of St. Catherine’s were 10 babies in the prenatal intensive care unit and 18 adult medical and surgical patients.
While the hospital was without power, Barry said it was prepared for whatever Irene would throw at it.
“The only impact was a loss of power … it had to go on backup power, but this was completely prepared for and anticipated. They had ample generator power to get them through,” he said.
Barry said all the Catholic Health Services of Long Island hospitals open during the storm operated using its emergency preparedness plan, which consists of using backup power, making sure there’s adequate staffing in each facility, making sure each facility has adequate medications on hand, and more.
Barry also said no government entity ordered an evacuation of St. Catherine’s prior to the storm and no significant damage was done to the hospital.