BURGAW — Pender County has suffered from widespread blackouts since Hurricane Florence struck earlier in the week, leaving the county without its own hospital. EMS crews have had difficulty reaching the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s main facility, in Wilmington. Now, hopefully, conditions will improve.
According to Pender County spokesperson Tammy Proctor, some EMS crews were able to make their way south to Wilmington along Highway 17, but crews coming from inland Pender County experienced difficulties, including washed out roads and downed power lines.
According to Carloyn Fisher, NHRMC director of marketing and Public Relations, the county’s main hospital – Pender Memorial Hospital — had to close in advance of Hurricane Florence to focus medical resources in a facility built to withstand a larger storm. As of Monday afternoon, Fisher said, NHRMC has set up a mobile hospital with Atrium Health
. Carolinas MED-1 unit is currently operational at the Family Dollar in Burgaw, located at 200 W. Wilmington St.
Fisher said the MED-1 team has a team of “more than 30, made up of emergency room doctors, nurses, and other medical staff,” adding that “the 1,000-square-foot hospital is fully staffed and capable of handling anything from minor injuries to severe emergency medical conditions, including trauma surgery and intensive medical care.”
“In addition, MED-1 will have a behavioral health peer support specialist and a chaplain from Atrium Health deploying with the team, to help with any emotional support that may be needed, including helping evacuees deal with anxiety, fear, loss or other struggles because of the storm,” Fisher said.
Fisher said NHRMC was “very anxious to get Pender Memorial Hospital back open and serving the community. The facility is in good shape, though still on generator power.”
Fisher said she expected a timeline on reopening Pender’s hospital soon; in the meantime, Pender Memorial Hospital President Ruth Glaser said “We appreciate Atrium Health and the MED-1 team coming to help. We want our patients in Pender and Duplin counties to have access to emergency care while our Pender Memorial Hospital facility remains closed.”
According to Fisher, “this deployment will be Atrium Health’s largest Mobile Medicine deployment since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The mobile hospital is prepared to be on site for a minimum of two weeks and rotate teammates as needed. MED-1 has been deployed following other natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Hurricane Matthew in Lumberton, North Carolina.”
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