Hurricane Matthew: Serving in Crisis and Calm

October 21, 2016

The emergency preparedness of New Hanover Regional Medical Center during Hurricane Matthew demonstrates just how engaged our health system is in the provision of outstanding health to all those we encounter – staff, patients, families and the community we serve – during crisis. Making our resources ready and available to those in need is something that we do quite efficiently, and in a fashion that allows us to become better in every subsequent event.

I feel a daily sense of honor in belonging to such an organization. We absolutely are leading our community to outstanding health.

Standing Strong in the Storm

As we observe the tragic impacts of the flooding in the aftermath of Matthew, and try to develop a comprehensive understanding of the true effects on our communities, we at NHRMC have been given a grand opportunity to contemplate the work we do and how it affects the overall health of the individuals in our community.  

Through years of planning and perpetual updates, we are able to respond quickly to catastrophic circumstances. During Hurricane Matthew, we were notified of a potential accident involving dozens of people. Fortunately, the injuries turned out to be few and minor. The challenge of transporting patients and caring for them in the height of the storm would have been significant, but we would have done everything within our means to help those in need.  We had a plan in place, and we were prepared to implement it.

During times of crisis, our coordination with other organizations across the region and across the state allows us to assist other hospitals. When hospitals in the region were hit hard by Matthew, we cared for some of their babies in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We delivered cots and water to them, and our emergency planning team left Wilmington to help our neighbors in distress.

Likewise, we know that our partners across the state are ready to do the same for us should we face a catastrophe.

The cumulative health impacts of Hurricane Matthew will be felt for many years to come, as those most severely affected rebuild their homes and lives. As it turns out, our duty of leading our community to outstanding health is more a function of the work we do away from our facilities than it is dependent upon the medical services we deliver within them – and this responsibility needs fulfillment not only in crisis situations, but on a perpetual basis.

Beyond the Walls of the Hospital 

The small seed that was planted nearly 50 years ago as New Hanover Memorial Hospital has grown into a giant tree, with only a single branch being New Hanover Regional Medical Center. In a given year less than 10% of our patients will require hospitalization, and at least 80% of health has nothing whatsoever to do with medical care as we have traditionally defined it. However, our responsibility to deliver health has been made crystal clear by those who pay us. We have to re-imagine health care.

It's easy to see that we are needed in a crisis. But part of our job is to bring compassion, teamwork, ownership, and communication into the communities, homes, and lives of those we serve.

We are honored that you rely on us for your medical needs, and we pledge to do our best to lead our community to outstanding health.

Categories: Your Health
Topics: NHRMC Team

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