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HOSPITALS DEAL WITH ANDREW'S AFTERMATH AND PREPARE FOR MORE

 HOSPITALS DEAL WITH ANDREW'S AFTERMATH AND PREPARE FOR MORE
 CHICAGO, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Andrew continues to threaten the Gulf Coast, hospitals in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are preparing for the worst while South Florida copes with the devastation from the storm. The American Hospital Association's World Hospital Program is poised to provide relief assistance to Florida and other potential targets of Andrew.
 As a result of yesterday's disaster, most of the hospitals in the Miami area are without power, water and other supplies. Deering Hospital in Miami and SMH Homestead Hospital evacuated patients to nearby facilities and closed their doors. Both hospitals suffered such extensive damage that they may have to be rebuilt. Miami's Baptist Hospital, Hialeah Hospital and Miami Beach Community Hospital are receiving patients evacuated from nearby hospitals, but are in desperate need of sutures, linens, bottled water and other basic supplies. Closed since Sunday, Mercy Hospital in Miami sent employees out for chain saws to clear trees blocking hospital entrances. Mercy, along with the Miami Heart Institute, which also closed on Sunday, hopes to re-open on a limited basis tomorrow.
 The South Florida Hospital Association (SFHA) is acting as the coordination center for area hospitals since the local Emergency Medical Services office was damaged by the storm. The AHA is working through its regional offices to set up a relief network in the event the hurricane hits in Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas. The Florida Hospital Association and SFHA are working with World Hospital to get medical supplies to hard-hit facilities in the state. In the past, AHA's world hospital program has provided relief to hard hit areas in the former Soviet Union, Africa and other nations.
 "The coordination and teamwork among hospitals has been amazing," said Sarah Grim, president of the SFHA. "Although many hospital employees suffered extensive personal loss, their dedication to stay and help out has been tremendous." Grim estimates it may be a week or longer before power is restored to the hospitals.
 All of the hospitals in New Orleans implemented disaster plans as of yesterday afternoon and are stockpiling emergency supplies. Lakewood Hospital in Morgan City has evacuated most of its patients to Baton Rouge and is seeing only emergency patients at this point.
 According to the Louisiana Hospital Association, New Orleans hospitals have contingency plans to evacuate and transfer patients to facilities as far north as Shreveport. Acadian Ambulance Service and Airmed in Lafayette, the second largest air-ground ambulance service in the country, has already transported 240 nursing home patients to hospitals in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. They are coordinating with hospitals in the state to move patients as needed.
 AMI Park Place Medical Center, AMI Mid-Jefferson Hospital and St. Mary Hospital in Port Arthur, Texas, have been collaborating with city officials on their disaster plan since yesterday. Elective surgeries have been canceled at all three facilities and plans have been made to transfer patients to Nacogdoches and Houston if necessary. Hospital officials said they added extra supplies that should last a week.
 The AHA, a not-for-profit organization, serves as a national advocate for hospitals and the patients they serve, provides education and information for its members and informs the public about hospitals and health care issues.
 -0- 8/25/92
 /CONTACT: Donna Gaidamak of the American Hospital Association, 312-280-6129/ CO: American Hospital Association ST: Illinois, Florida IN: HEA SU:


IH -- DC023 -- 3205 08/25/92 17:24 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1992
Words:569
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