In Texas, HCA Houston Healthcare AirLife teams began mobilizing to transport vulnerable patients. Brian Rayl, flight nurse and paramedic at HCA Houston Healthcare, says his crews — all of whom are HCA Healthcare colleagues —were “concerned because we didn’t exactly know where the hurricane was coming in.”
“We were very cognizant of watching where it was going and just the way that it was moving, how slow it was moving,” says Brian. “We knew that this was going to be a significant storm that was going to cause a lot of damage no matter where it hit.”
Jana Zimmerhanzel, inpatient nursing director at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake in Webster, Texas, typically manages units within her facility. But as a nurse with more than 25 years of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) experience, she was tapped for the mission in Louisiana. “I was actually the flight nurse going with our AirLife crew,” she says. “I’ve done a lot of transport of infants and neonates in my career. So when the phone call came, I was glad to answer.”
To the north, in Overland Park, Kan., Schambra Starr, assistant vice president, Mid-America Division Transfer Center, and her colleagues were tracking Ida from an enterprise level and preparing emergency plans.
“I first realized it was going to be a dangerous situation when we continued to have storm geo calls at the corporate level, two times a day at the division level, and also talking with the local leaders,” says Schambra. “They told me it was going to be bad.”
While facility managers were taking a full inventory of resources and supplies, transfer center officials immediately requested a detailed list of the patients to determine which may require special care.
“We knew what we felt the priority was,” says Schambra.
Hiral Patel, CEO of Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington, La., says there was a significant effort to coordinate between three different divisions.
“Our corporate emergency operations team were the ones who set the vision for how this transport was going to happen. The Gulf Coast Division was instrumental in supporting us with the Houston AirLife team,” says Hiral.