Health Care

Health Providers Give Recovery Updates

By Ken Little, posted Sep 21, 2018
The area’s major health care providers say they all plan assessments of the response to Hurricane Florence when time allows.
As surrounding communities begin the recovery process, so too do the hospitals and other medical providers serving the region.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is open again for visitors after Hurricane Florence, and many of the NHRMC Physician Group practices are open. 
NHRMC officials announced Friday that New Hanover Regional Medical Center Emergency Department-North at 151 Scotts Hill Drive has reopened.
Pender Memorial Hospital and NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital and remain closed. 
 “We are still in storm response mode but are proud of our teams working around the clock to serve our community,” New Hanover Regional Medical Center spokesman Julian March said this week.
Hurricane Florence has severely impacted Southeastern North Carolina and other regions of the state, “but the New Hanover Regional Medical Center system continues to provide care as the region recovers from the storm,” March said.
He said that more than 1,800 staff, physicians and advanced care providers sheltered in place for five nights during the storm, “providing excellent care throughout.”
“Our facilities suffered some minor damage, including to our orthopedic tower under construction, a small corner of roofing over the 10th floor of NHRMC, and over the resident offices at NHRMC,” March said.
“Our facilities teams worked around the clock to contain the damage and get areas operational. Meanwhile, patient care continued, unimpacted,” he added.
March said that elective surgeries canceled before the storm’s arrival “continue to be on hold through this week as we focus on emergency needs.”
“We are opening our physician group practices, prioritizing primary care sites to help manage the urgent medical needs of their patients. Our specialty practices are ramping up as quickly as we can get the facilities safely operating with their teams,” March said.   
Pender Memorial Hospital in Burgaw remained closed as of Friday.
“The building is in good shape, but many staff evacuated the area and have not yet been able to return.  We worked with Atrium Health to bring Med 1, a fully operational mobile hospital, to Burgaw to provide area residents access to care,” March said.
He said the NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital also remained closed to focus resources at the South 17th Street campus of NHRMC.
He said that the NHRMC Foundation has set up a fund for contributions that can be directed to help those in need. Click here for that info.

For updates on the status of NHRMC facilities and physician offices, click here.
Brunswick County also took a major hit from Hurricane Florence.
“We complete an analysis after every response in order to evaluate what went well and what we may be able to improve on moving forward,” said Ashton Miller, spokeswoman for Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center.
Shelbourn Stevens, president of the medical center, issued a statement this week.
“Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center remained open for the duration of the storm. We had 187 team members board on-site beginning last Wednesday at 5 p.m. so we could continue to provide care for our community,” he said. “I am incredibly impressed by the response of our team members who stepped up to support our patients and each other.”
Stevens said staff members “saw the value of teamwork by working with and supporting other agencies. For example, we shared our helipad with the United States Coast Guard so they could safely land in our community. We also received patients from high-water vehicles.”
Stevens said all Novant Health-affiliated medical group clinics have been closed since Sept. 12 and currently remain closed, with the exception of Novant Health Oceanside Family Medicine & Convenient Care in Shallotte, which opened Wednesday under normal hours of operation.
“We expect some of our clinics to open later this week, but do not currently have a timeline for those openings,” Stevens said.
“While the recovery is not over for us yet, we will certainly take time in the coming weeks to look back to evaluate what went well and what we might be able to do better or differently in the future,” he said. “I can tell you that I am incredibly proud and impressed with our team and our community’s response to Hurricane Florence. I am so appreciative of our team at the hospital and at our clinics as well as emergency personnel across the county.
“My heart is with our team members and others in our area who have experienced losses and damages, we will keep them in our thoughts in the coming weeks,” Stevens said.
Miller said that Novant Health worked closely with state and local partners, including NC Healthcare Preparedness Coalitions and emergency management officials “to ensure that our team members, their families, our patients, and our community were cared for regardless of the weather.” 
Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center’s emergency department remained open to serve the coastal community during Hurricane Florence.
“Out of an abundance of caution,” Miller said that some patients at the medical center were transferred to inland hospitals to continue to receive care until they are able to return home.
The Novant Health emergency preparedness team in the coastal area remains in close contact with state and county emergency management officials.
“Once it is safe to travel again, damage assessment at physician clinics will take place and full services will be restored as soon as possible,” a news release this week said.
At Wilmington Health facilities, “preliminary assessments of most of our buildings have been performed and there appears to be no structural or flooding damage,” a news release said.
Daily updates on the status of Wilmington Health facilities will be posted at 10:30 am and 4:30 pm will be published to the Wilmington Health website and Facebook page.
The website is
Southport also felt the force of Hurricane Florence.
“We maintained emergency department, lab and diagnostic imaging [services]. We had to close other services at the hospital due to lack of potable water caused by line breaks leading to Dosher,” hospital spokesman James Goss said.
All Dosher physician clinics remained closed this week, Goss said.
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