HCA hospitals see caseloads jump after Hurricane Ian

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, some Florida hospitals are adjusting to increased patient counts, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Oct. 9.

Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 28 as a Category 4 hurricane near Cayo Costa, Fla. 

Since then, a number of hospitals have reopened or returned to at least partial normal operations after adapting to the effects of the storm. They have also offered patients free or reduced prices for telehealth visits. And Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and Naples, Fla.-based NCH Healthcare System have announced actions to aid hurricane victims.

Now, hospitals in the state are dealing with increased injuries related to hurricane cleanup, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Scott Selph, MD, emergency services director for HCA hospitals in West Florida, told the newspaper: "The No. 1 injury we're seeing are orthopedic injuries from cleaning debris, whether it's to clean up your yard, or using a ladder to get on the roof. For the big jobs like tree removal or getting on a roof, just recommend hiring professionals for that."

Increased heat-related illnesses and respiratory issues are also occurring, he added.

Specifically, Dr. Selph reported a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in patient volume at HCA Florida Blake Hospital in Bradenton, which is a level 2 trauma center and a burn center. He also reported a 20 percent to 25 percent increase in the emergency caseload at HCA Florida Doctors Hospital in Sarasota.

In addition to HCA facilities, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System spokesperson Kim Savage reported a similar trend, telling the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: "Right after the storm passed there was a backlog of EMS cases. We saw a lot of people who were suffering from a variety of ailments. 

"Then, right after the storm passed, we saw a lot of injuries from people who were clearing debris," she added. "We saw chainsaw injuries, we saw branches that had punctured their skin and got infected."

Ms. Savage also told the newspaper volumes remain high, but the health system — which has Sarasota and Venice hospital campuses — has been able to manage the issue "and create as normal a process as we can now in triaging and treating patients."

To read the full report, click here

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