More than six weeks after Hurricane Michael devastated parts of the Florida Panhandle, many residents, including caregivers at HCA Healthcare’s Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, are still picking up the pieces to rebuild, restore and reclaim their lives. However, despite their personal situations, Gulf Coast Regional healthcare workers and staff demonstrated their dedication in times of disaster and their commitment to care.
The Category 4 storm made landfall on Wednesday, October 10 and packed sustained winds of 155 mph, causing significant damage to Gulf Coast Regional and the Panama City, Florida community. Due to the hospital’s condition and infrastructure challenges in the area, the hospital care team and support staff, many of whom were unsure about the status of their own homes, set about the task of ensuring their patients’ safety and evacuating the hospital.
Directly after the storm, Gulf Coast Regional and HCA Healthcare’s Emergency Operations Center in Nashville coordinated the transfer of 139 patients by aircraft, helicopter, and ambulance to HCA sister facilities in Florida.
As caregivers worked to evacuate the hospital, just as many new patients arrived in the emergency room for care. Gulf Coast Regional’s ER remained open during and after Hurricane Michael, treating more than 2,000 patients. Since the storm, the hospital, in concert with HCA’s transfer center, has moved hundreds of patients from the ER to other hospitals outside the area of impact for inpatient services.
Just one month and one day after the historic storm, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center reopened its doors with limited services to serve the Panama City community.
“It’s a big deal for the hospital, it’s a big deal for Bay County and Panama City,” Brad Griffin, Gulf Coast Regional Medical CEO, said when talking to local ABC affiliate about reopening the hospital to the community. Our staff is excited to come back to work and start taking care of patients, and doing what we do best.”
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center employees and other HCA colleagues were affected by Hurricane Michael as well. So far, the HCA Hope Fund, an employee-run, employee supported relief fund that provides financial aid in times of disaster, has processed 1,118 applications and provided $924,000 in grants to HCA colleagues in need.
Through it all, doctors, nurses, executives and support staff were there – at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, working around the clock, prepping patients for transport, treating community members in the ER, participating in cleanup efforts around the facility, and caring for each other during extraordinary circumstances. Their determination honored their ongoing commitment to be a true partner to the community they serve, no matter what.
Watch below to see how the Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center team demonstrated their Commitment to Care before, during and after Hurricane Michael.
To help us celebrate the exceptional experiences happening every day at HCA affiliates, we’ve created a video series called, “Committed to Care.” Being committed to care is a reflection of HCA’s mission – we are committed to the care and improvement of human life – and a calling that has shaped our company from its earliest days.