Hospitals gear up when extreme weather hits

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Hospitals across the state are essential lifelines in extreme weather conditions. With forecasters calling for blizzard conditions in New England, hospitals like Hartford Hospital were geared up.

“We are a safety net, we are always open, ” said Barry Kriesberg, Regional Vice-President of Operations. “Staffing is priority one.”

Cots lined rooms for staff staying overnight.

“This room will certainly be used to its fullest extent and we have another one pretty much identical to this one,” said Kriesberg. “There’ll be staff staying here on rotating shifts, four hours at a time.”

In the emergency department, every shift is covered.

“God forbid somebody needs to see us in the middle of the storm, we will be here and we will be ready,” said Medical Director Dr. Kenneth Robinson. “Most of the time in the middle of a storm it’s difficult for people to get to the hospital. We are generally more quiet than we usually are during the middle of a storm.”

Labor and Delivery made calls ahead of time.

“We’ve contacted patients who were scheduled to deliver and asked them to come in prior to the storm,” said manager Amy Schroder. “For others, it’s important that women who maybe going into labor spontaneously don’t delay and they contact their provider.”

As you would expect, LifeStar is grounded in extreme winter conditions.

“We have nurses, respiratory therapists, both are credentialed as paramedics and providing the highest level of care here in Connecticut,” said manager Chris Watkins. “What we will do then is put all of our equipment from the aircraft and put it in an ambulance and send our crew anywhere in the state where they need to go.”

What the hospital did not expect was 15 babies to be born in a span of 24 hours. Typically they deliver nine to 10 babies. Eleven were born in the thick of the storm. Doctors say there’s no medical reason for it, and that “it’s more likely happenstance.”

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