Tuesday, January 26, 2016

No Room in the Inn

Here is a story that I thought had nothing to do with me: the closing of Laurel Regional Hospital. But I was talking to a friend yesterday who wondered how Howard County General was doing during the storm.

"Why?" I asked.

"With the closing of the Laurel Hospital, HCGH is in a dire situation. I heard they were completely full even before the storm."

Wow. I hadn't thought about that. People who need hospital care will have to go somewhere. Their health needs don't magically become ambulatory just because their local facility decides to pursue a different business model. So this isn't just Laurel's problem, or Prince George's problem. It's our problem, too.

During the storm the hospital was very likely providing shelter to staff who couldn't get home, plus patients who had been discharged but couldn't go anywhere. I have no idea what that looked like if they were already full before the storm even started. Where did they put everybody?

Add to that the pressures of workers trying to find a way to get in to work to relieve those who hadn't been able to go home, and you have a recipe for a stressful and draining experience. I have no first hand information but my gut instinct is that everyone over there has been working like dogs to make things run as smoothly as possible.

Now that I understand how this news story in another county hits home for us in Howard County, I want to learn more about how we're responding to meet the increased need. So look for future posts on this

Thanks to all the employees at HCGH who worked through the storm, the Good Samaritans who used four wheel drive vehicles to get nurses and doctors to their shifts, and the neighbors who helped ambulances reach people with emergencies. Our community is a better place because of you.

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