LAURA HALL: Sacred Heart doesn’t miss a beat during ice storm

Sacred Heart

Kathleen Gilles delivers trays to the patients with Art Miller, volunteer, and Patrick McHugh, sous chef.

Published: Monday, February 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM.

The deep freeze that just passed our way created some unusual quandaries for those in the business of saving lives.

During the icy rain, sleet and snow, many businesses closed and most of us had the choice to stay home, warm and safe.  But hospitals work by different rules. 

I meet with Roger Hall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital of the Emerald Coast, who gives me some interesting stories about the lengths the hospital team went to in order to keep things safe and working properly. 

“One of our nurses lives in Tallahassee but he works a few shifts here,” Hall said. “Even with snow falling and roads beginning to ice, he made it to work and apologized for being five minutes late.”

Probably none of his patients knew what he had gone through to pull his regular shift. 

One of the surgeons, Dr. Robert Hruby, who lives in Niceville, made it across the Mid-Bay Bridge just before it closed.  Surgery was scheduled, so Hruby stayed at the hospital and found an empty room in the Family Birth Place to spend the night.  He wanted to be sure the hospital could cover anything that might happen during the storm. Although most all the roads north were impassable, there was still an active surgery schedule based on medical necessity. The hospital had to use AIRHeart helicopter service to bring in blood and blood products to keep a safe level for operations.

Staff, nurses, technicians, the housekeeping crew — everyone working in the hospital was impacted.  Sharon Abele, volunteer supervisor, soon realized many people suddenly had kids at home and no way to get care for them. 



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