Local hospitals prep for possible Isaac patient influx - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Local hospitals prep for possible Isaac patient influx

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Hospitals across the state are readying their emergency plans, updating rosters with patient information and topping off generators.  In this Healthcast, we go inside Lake Charles Memorial Hospital to find out its plan of action as Isaac moves closer to Louisiana.

Mondays are food delivery days at the hospital and a normal day's delivery lines the halls of the kitchen.  Now, with Isaac nearing the coast of Louisiana, there are plans to beef up the supply in preparation of a possible patient influx from the New Orleans area.  "Right now, we have the capability of bringing about 65 more people into the hospital," said LCMH Sr. VP of Operations, Tim Coffey.

Coffey oversees operations at the hospital and says he - along with every other Louisiana hospital - has been contacted to update patient rolls and get the information back to the state Office of Emergency Preparedness.  "The current census actually contains who is in our hospital now, our current resources, so that throughout the state, there can be an accurate count of where resources are located," said Coffey.

OEP in Baton Rouge will look over the resources available and decide who needs to go where if evacuations are put in place in other parts of the state.  "They coordinate the entire activity for the entire region," said Coffey.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, followed by Gustav and Ike in 2008, forced hospitals across the state to look back over their emergency plans for future storms.  Lake Charles Memorial Hospital plans to enact a shelter in place in the event of a storm, unless a mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the area.

Coffey says the staff is familiar with the hospital's emergency plans and immediate action has been taken ahead of the storm making landfall.  "Our generators have been tested, our diesel has been topped off, our staff has prepared," said Coffey.

That preparation trickles down to individuals, too, as Louisiana is now under a state of emergency. Every person is encouraged to have prescriptions filled, medical devices nearby and special needs noted.

The Department of Health and Hospitals also mandates that nursing homes, dialysis centers and other medical institutions update their rosters and have generators ready for emergency plans.

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