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Kentucky hospitals respond to “influx of patients” following deadly storms

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Becca Schimmel
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Western Kentucky hospitals and medical centers are treating scores of patients in the wake of deadly storms and tornadoes.

Brooke Richardson, marketing and communications coordinator for Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield, Ky., said their facility didn’t suffer any damage and they are “fully prepared to meet the medical needs of our communities at this time.”

“We are heartbroken to learn the extent of the damage caused by last night’s storms. … We have seen an influx of patients to the emergency department and have called in additional staff to accommodate the increased volume,” Richardson said in a written statement. “Our thoughts are with our friends, family, neighbors and our employees throughout Mayfield and the surrounding region.”

Med Center Health in Bowling Green also escaped damage to its building, but lost power for several hours, according to Vice President of Ancillary Services Dennis Chaney.

“Our emergency generators supplied power for us for some time, and then we did regain power earlier this morning,” he told WFPL News Saturday.

The Bowling Green hospital also had an “influx of patients” into its emergency department. 

Chaney said extra staffing was called in and, despite a nationwide nursing shortage that’s impacted the hospital, they have been “managing adequately.” 

He said they’re seeing weather-related injuries such as lacerations and broken bones. Medical staff is also trying to respond to the mental health needs of patients coming in.

“Our social services team responded extremely early this morning, all of them making their way to our campus in order to provide support for patients and families of those needing services offered at our campus,” Chaney said. “And we’ve been coordinating spiritual needs as it relates to those sorts of requests.”

Some medical facilities in Louisville have been on standby, ready to send support to their colleagues in the impacted areas.

A spokesperson for Norton Healthcare said president and CEO Russell F. Cox spoke with Gov. Andy Beshear, offering to provide support. 

In a message sent to Norton employees, Cox wrote that he anticipates the health system’s workers will be “eager to help.” 

“We are committed to helping in any way we can,” Cox’s message said. “Please be assured that we will do whatever is determined to be the most helpful to those affected by the storm, whether that is by providing volunteers, supplies, or resources. … We know you join us in sending thoughts and prayers to those whose lives have been dramatically affected by this disaster.”

Chaney of Med Center Health in Bowling Green said they’re working with community partners to assess what residents need as officials continue to assess the extent of the damage.

“I know that there’s going to be housing needs, and then folks who have lost everything, you know, their clothing and personal items, all of that,” he said.

But one thing that his hospital, and likely many others, definitely need is blood, he continued. 

The country is in the midst of a national blood shortage, according to the American Red Cross.

“We need blood products,” Chaney said. “And so this devastation of the weather has exacerbated our need.”

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