Weeks before Hurricane Ike entered the Gulf of Mexico, the Disaster Preparedness Team from HCA, the nation’s largest healthcare provider and parent company of Kingwood Medical Center, was hard at work assembling what would be additional vital medical supplies, back-up generators, gasoline and other necessary items for their hospitals along the Gulf Coast. From experience with most recent Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav, the Team knew that these additional supplies would be essential for their hospitals to maintain the highest level of care for their patients. As Ike entered the Gulf and took aim on the middle Texas coast, the HCA hospitals in Houston were ready. In the days prior to the storm, the Emergency Management Committee at Kingwood Medical Center provided guidance to staff members who were hard at work in preparation. Additional medical supplies, food, linens and other necessities were procured and delivered to the hospital. To ensure that the highest level of care was provided to patients during and after the storm, special accommodations were provided for clinical and support staff who planned to shelter in place at the hospital. Physicians were provided areas of quiet retreat to catch much needed rest. The medical office mall of Kingwood Medical Center became a home away from home for 720 staff members and their families. Before the winds and rain began, everyone was busy pitching tents, blowing up air mattresses, and unrolling sleeping bags. “We wanted to offer reassurance to our staff that their families were being well taken care of while they were taking care of our patients,” said Gay Nord, CEO of Kingwood Medical Center. “We were pleased to be able to provide a safe place for our staff and their families to ride out the storm while ensuring the safety and comfort of our patients and their families.” From Sept. 12 through Sept. 15, the hospital team rose to the challenge and not only provided excellent care to the patients, but offered support to each other during a stressful time. The hospital’s cafeteria staff provided more than 8,600 meals to patients, physicians, staff, and all who sought refuge at the hospital. A daycare center was established for the children of staff members and was manned by volunteer co-workers who went out of their way to make sure the kids were safe and happy in a new situation. Pets had been welcomed to accompany their owners to safety and a Pet Hotel was established housing dogs, cats, birds, fish, and a baby squirrel. “During and after the hurricane inpatient volumes and emergency department volumes were 60 percent higher than usual. While many of our employees and physicians had no water or electricity in their homes, and in some cases, no homes to return to, they put their personal needs aside and went above and beyond to provide the best possible care to our patients and our community.” said Nord. “It is an honor to work with such an incredible team.” When the storm was at its peak and power was lost in the area, the hospital’s main generator provided power along with an additional back-up generator that had been deployed to the hospital in preparation for the storm. HCA’s ability to mobilize resources quickly and deploy those resources under extreme conditions paid off yet again. There was never a moment of lost power in the hospital. Kingwood Medical Center, an affiliate of HCA, Inc., is a 200-bed acute care facility comprised of 24-hour emergency services, the area’s only interventional cardiology program, cardiac catheterization lab, cardiac diagnostic services, cardiac surgery, Primary Stroke Center, Level III neonatal intensive care unit, women’s services, the area’s only designated pediatric unit, surgery, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, laboratory, radiology, imaging/diagnostic services, outpatient day surgery, neurosurgery, and a sleep disorders center. Photo: In the days prior to the storm, the Emergency Management Committee at Kingwood Medical Center provided guidance to staff members who were hard at work in preparation. Additional medical supplies, food, linens and other necessities were procured and delivered to the hospital. As all staff members are considered essential personnel, everyone had a role.

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