Chicago hospitals brace for 'polar vortex'

Chicago is expected to be colder than Mount Everest and Antarctica this week, according to The Hill, and area hospitals are gearing up to help keep people warm and safe during the icy weather.

Record-breaking cold temperatures are expected to hit Chicago this week, with wind chills expected to drop to as low as 44 degrees below zero Tuesday night, the Chicago Tribune reports. Area hospitals are preparing to see a potential influx of frostbite and hypothermia cases in the days to follow.

"When you're talking about wind chills like this, [frostbite] can happen in minutes," Adam Black, MD, the medical director at the AMITA Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center emergency department in Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune.

How six Chicago-area hospitals plan to help patients during the cold weather:

  • Maywood, Ill.-based Loyola University Medical Center is speeding up patient discharges to help patients return home before the cold weather hits
  • AMITA Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center held a cold weather drive to collect winter clothing to give to patients who did not arrive in proper attire
  • The emergency rooms at Mount Sinai Hospital and Holy Cross Hospital, both in Chicago, will function as warming centers for community members and offer free coffee and hot chocolate
  • UChicago Medicine is asking patients with clinic appointments during the cold weather to reschedule. Similarly, Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center is reminding nonemergency patients they can take advantage of the system's telehealth consultations

To access the full report, click here.

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