Greenville Health System is working hard to make sure that our patients and staff are protected as Hurricane Florence continues inland.
Our 24-hour emergency operations center is closely monitoring the situation. We also launched initiatives to address patient tracking and to ensure adequate supplies and human resources are in place to provide care for the evacuated patients as well as patients in the Upstate. Because of predictions of high wind and potential flooding, GHS also has taken steps for staff to stay overnight at our hospitals in case the ability of nurses, doctors and others team members to get to our locations is impeded.
GHS took in nearly 30 patients evacuated from hospitals and skilled nursing facilities on the coast, and GHS Mobile Care deployed ambulances to the coast to help transfer some of the sickest of the sick to inland hospitals.
GHS expects an influx of travelers evacuating from the coast and is taking steps ahead of the storm to improve patient access.
Due to Hurricane Florence, GHS has waived the $20 consultation fee for SmartExam, an online tool that connects you with a GHS care provider. Now through Monday, Sept. 17, those in need of care for minor illnesses can use SmartExam to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan for a number of common conditions free of charge.
To learn more about SmartExam or other urgent care options, visit www.ghs.org/florence.
GHS’ eight hospital campuses are also taking additional steps to ensure they’re ready to continue providing outstanding care to patients throughout the storm.
As we prepare, we want you to be prepared as well. We urge Upstate residents to review their own emergency plans and ensure they’ve taken additional steps to safeguard their health.
Key advice includes the following:
- Refill all of your medications as soon as possible.
- Charge your cell phones for as long as you can before a storm hits and then only use as needed if power goes out.
- Stock up on water. If you can’t purchase any, fill up containers with water for drinking.
- Dehydration is common after major storms. A good rule of thumb is to have seven gallons of water per person in your home. That should last you seven days.
- Write down the names and numbers of all medical personnel that your family uses on a regular basis.
- Particularly in a high-wind situation, stay indoors. Flying debris can seriously wound or kill. After the storm, be vigilant for hanging debris or downed power lines.
GHS continues to partner with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the SC Hospital Association and regulatory agencies on storm preparedness and response.
By Eric Ossmann, MD, FACEP, GHS Chief of Preparedness and Emergency Management