Testimonial: Championing Patient Safety in the Eye of a Natural Disaster

 

In August of 2017 Hurricane Harvey—a Category 4 hurricane reaching sustained winds up to 130 mph—made landfall on the Texas coastline.

For close to 96 hours, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas in Beaumont (BHSET) would be ground-zero for this catastrophic natural disaster. Hurricanes are a part of life on the Texas coast, and Baptist had already weathered three different storms prior to Harvey.

Although they were prepared for this storm’s arrival, every storm they face comes with an added element of the unpredictable. Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas’s story exemplifies that in the face of nature’s unpredictability, an organization can still adhere to a higher mission.

Guided by a smart disaster plan and with the support of their community, Baptist succeeded in their mission to react with love in a time of crisis.

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Transcript

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Living along the
coast southeast Texas.

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This is not our first hurricane.

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So we’re used to knowing
what’s coming for days bands

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doing what all hospitals do.

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We were getting
ready making sure.

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And all of our
supplies and worrying

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where we were short such as
pharmaceuticals, food services.

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When the hurricane actually
arrived, we had 200 patients.

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And 14 neonatal intensive
care babies on site

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prepared to weather the storm.

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No one your typical
24 hour normal

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is and has gone so long
sitting out there and just

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constant dumping rain for
several days all of a sudden,

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we started receiving high water
evacuees and within about two

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or three hours.

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Our Emergency Room went
from 47 to almost close

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to 100 patients in there.

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The storm itself was
really not a major storm.

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Though 60 inches of rain
is a lot of rain

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and once the water treatment
plant went underwater there

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was nothing they could do.

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Everyone lost water
at the same time.

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I didn’t believe it.

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I thought they’d gotten through
the main portions of the event.

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But actually we’re really
just getting into it.

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You can’t safely deliver a
baby or any kind of procedure.

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If you don’t know what your
water situation is going to be

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and for how long.

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So at that point,
we decided we would

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start transferring patients
in by 6:00 AM we had patients

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already heading out the door.

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We had to empty the ER

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because we knew that the
patients were going to come

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down to the Emergency Department.

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And so that was our priority was
let’s get these patients go on.

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So we had that house we had all
the lists of the patients that

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were there were their
names in this storm.

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We had to make sure that our
partners meaning our vendors

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were on board with us.

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And that’s where
MEDHOST was

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so extremely important to us.

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We had many times where we had
delivered patient information

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to a hospital, but
in route that patient

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was redirected someplace else.

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And so our command center
would get a phone call

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and we had our
nurses in there to be

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able to give patient information
to the new receiving hospital.

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They were able to go through and
see a complete medical history,

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they could see a
complete medication

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list all of their labs.

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And it made that process a much
safer transfer for the patient

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having a stable database
where that information was

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available to providers was
crucial to patient care.

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When the water

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finally stopped, Southeast
Texas was an island.

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You could not get into Southeast
Texas from interstate 10,

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east or west, everyone could
see a sense of community.

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So when we have a crisis

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and we had decided to
evacuate our patients

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everybody’s focus shifted
to help us.

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We didn’t lose any patients.

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We knew where
every patient went.

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They actually
used an aircraft

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that came in from all over,
the state from Oklahoma

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that we’re flying
in like an Uber.

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They would pick up here and
fly to one of the airports

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and fly the patients out.

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It was a great
moment of teamwork

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for the whole hospital.

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Everyone came
together and worked

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for the patients. Our
mission statement is together,

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we perform sacred work.

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We didn’t have time to fear
during the preparations.

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We had to weather the storm.

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We reacted in love and
that’s what we do every day.

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That’s who we are.

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All it was a simple phone call
and everyone from the military

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to vendors in Houston
to vendors in Nashville

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were right here
when we needed it.

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We would not have survived
without those relationships.