South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday October 24, 2017
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October 2017 - Volume 14 - Issue 4

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Darcy J. Davis, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Salutes Staff and County’s Health Care Professionals for Emergency Response to Hurricane Irma

In response to Hurricane Irma, we salute the many health care professionals throughout our county who stepped up and left their families during a time of fear and uncertainty to provide vital medical services. I’m proud that our Health Care District of Palm Beach County employees played a supportive role in the county’s coordinated emergency response, providing high-quality care to the most vulnerable in our community before, during and after the storm.

At Palm Beach County’s busy Special Needs Shelter, eight of our physicians, including our Chief Medical Officer, provided valuable medical care to more than 500 patients around the clock during the entire shelter activation period. In addition, our pharmacists and pharmacy staff also provided 24/7 services in the shelter where they stocked supplies and dispensed medication. In all, our team of physicians and pharmacists worked closely with the Florida Department of Health’s medical staff and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue to triage and care for these patients, most them elderly, electricity-dependent, and too chronically ill to stay home during the storm. Staffing such a diverse team of medical professionals at the Special Needs Shelter, as well as at a second shelter that was quickly mobilized due to high demand, provided this fragile population with necessary care, reduced the number of admissions to busy hospitals during the storm, and reassured patients that they were safe.  
 
Our staff also ensured that our 120-bed skilled nursing facility, the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riviera Beach, was well-prepared to provide safe, round-the-clock quality care, meals, and activities for our residents without any loss of power. This was true even in evacuated areas like Belle Glade where Lakeside Medical Center, our acute-care teaching hospital, was secure during the storm and medical staff delivered babies, performed surgeries, and provided compassionate, quality care to patients.
 
We mobilized to quickly open two of our ten primary care clinic sites on Tuesday, September 12th to provide adult and pediatric patients access to medical, dental and pharmacy services. In our quest to rapidly resume normal operations, we continued opening the remaining C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics’ locations throughout the week as electricity was restored. To help ensure patients could access their prescriptions, we activated our retail pharmacy network. In addition, our two Trauma Hawk aeromedical helicopters resumed operations the Tuesday after the storm passed to safely and rapidly transport traumatically-injured patients to the county’s two designated Level 1 Trauma Centers. And our School Nurses are back in their health rooms keeping Palm Beach County public school students healthy and ready to learn.
 
It’s been said before that the worst of Mother Nature brings out the best in human nature. We look forward to continued collaboration with the county to identify how to optimize our emergency response support and best utilize our resources in the future. For the many Health Care District employees, and all of the other public servants who sacrificed precious time with their own families to mobilize in response to Hurricane Irma, thank you for your dedication to our patients, residents, and the health of our community.
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