South Carolina Hospitals Weather Hurricane Irma

SCHA and South Carolina Hospitals Return to Normal Operations

We are extremely proud of how our hospitals responded to yet another major weather event in South Carolina. This was particularly true in the Low Country, where hospitals had to wind down to essential services and apply for waivers from Governor McMaster's evacuation orders. Hospitals across the state responded well to the challenge of remaining open despite the dangers of the hurricane, and as a whole South Carolina managed to balance the dueling imperatives between evacuating facilities and staying open for those in need.

Those in the gravest danger from the hurricane, like Hilton Head Memorial, safely evacuated while, further up the coast, Charleston area hospitals MUSC, Roper St. Francis, and Trident Health were granted waivers and remained open. Tidelands Health on the Grand Strand had its evacuation order rescinded, and in the Upstate Spartanburg Medical Center, Greenville Health System and AnMed did well in taking in patients evacuating from the storm. The Midlands also supported those impacted by Irma, as Palmetto Health took on evacuated patients and Palmetto Health Tumoey welcomed a newborn evacuee from Florida whose parents were escaping the wrath of the storm.

While our state's citizens and healthcare systems will continue to deal with the effects of Hurricane Irma in the weeks and months to come, SCHA is pleased to report that all hospitals are returning to normal operations as they repair minor damages, resume normal staffing levels, and repatriate evacuated patients. Throughout the course of Hurricane Irma, SCHA’s Emergency Operations Center worked 24-hours a day alongside our hospitals to provide information and help meet immediate needs.  We assisted with the evacuation of 46 patients from the Low Country in accordance with the Mutual Aid Agreement and added six new facilities to the agreement during the event.  We hosted four conference calls with over 500 participants, pushed out ten updates for CEOs and emergency managers, participated in nine regional healthcare coalition calls, and fielded over 250 calls to our Emergency Operations Center.  

But most importantly, we are proud of the work of SC hospitals to protect and serve patients during another dangerous event for the state. We believe this demonstrates the high level of emergency preparedness at our member facilities, and their commitment to working together to weather the storm for South Carolina’s patients and communities. We are grateful for all the caregivers and support staff who gave their best, even in the face of personal danger. Not all superheroes wear capes, and in South Carolina many of them wear scrubs and hospital badges.