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How one Midwest hospital dealt with major winter storms

March 8, 2013

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Two recent snow storms spilled more than two feet of snow in the Kansas City, KS, metropolitan area. The city was in a state of emergency last week as the blinding snowfall made travel impossible.

But it was business as usual for the University of Kansas Hospital, which took a number of steps to prepare for the winter blast. For example: More than 150 cots were set up for employees who chose to stay at the hospital overnight during the nearly foot of snow that fell Feb. 25 – the region’s second major storm within a week. This helped ensure that at least some employees were there in the morning in case other employees were late getting in due to the road conditions.

With road conditions in and around the hospital in rough shape, some employees walked from their own homes to the hospital to report for work. “We need to be here to take care of the patients,” said Dwayne Walker, a trauma clerk at the University of Kansas Hospital who walked about an hour from his house to the hospital Tuesday morning.

Shifts were re-configured to
avoid shift changes during rush hour and to allow extra time for incoming employees to try to get to work.

Patients with special circumstances had specific arrangements made for them by the hospital to ensure treatment was uninterrupted. For example, a University of Kansas Hospital surgeon, in anticipation of the storm, flew in a critical patient to undergo an essential brain surgery procedure. Without this advance planning, the patient’s necessary operation would have been delayed, putting her health at significant risk because of the storm.

“Our employees understand the importance of their jobs in caring for our patients and keeping this hospital running during Mother Nature’s most difficult storms,” said Tammy Peterman, the hospital’s chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. “Injuries and illnesses don’t stop because of snow days, so we need to be here for patients.”

To view a video of the hospital’s preparations for the storms, click on:
http://tinyurl.com/ck4rjpg.