As ‘Stories from the Flood’ continue to trickle in, it’s clear that even though Oakwood Hospital – Dearborn suffered significant damage during the historic rainfall on Aug. 11, it could have been a lot worse.
When water began to appear inside the lower level of the hospital, many team members started taking additional actions to protect patients and products alike—long before they knew how severe the issues would be.
“The frontline staff were the heart and core of why our disaster recovery was so successful,” said Kelly Smith, division president of Oakwood – Dearborn. “We had many, many staff and many, many physicians stay here overnight. Many team members pulled double shifts, many did things outside of their normal job description and pitched in in ways that far exceeded whatever would normally be expected of them.”
Lynn McConnell was the clinical manager on duty in the Emergency Department when the flood waters rose.
“I saw ED teamwork at its finest during this time,” she said. “When the ED team got the news to evacuate the patients, they all took responsibility and lined up at the Skillman elevators with patients on carts. All four Pods were evacuated in record time. Staff sloshed through ever rising waters and waited patiently for the elevator in order to get patients to the second floor. After we all arrived on the second floor the ED staff continued to excel providing for patients and helping organize the halls outside of Short Stay Unit where the ED patients now resided. I could not be more proud of this Emergency Department Team!”
Staff Nurse George Hellmer said when he heard that patients were being relocated up to the Short Stay Unit, he hopped into his Mini Cooper and tried to navigate back to assist his team.
“I didn’t get far before traffic and rising water stopped me,” he said. “I parked my car at the Lowe’s in Allen Park, rolled up my scrubs and waded and walked into work.” Along the way, he stopped to check on people as he made his way to the hospital.
Hearing differing accounts of the damage, Dr. Nabil Khoury headed back to the ED to help out, and said he was stunned at what he saw.
“I couldn’t believe that we had a foot and a half of water right outside the ambulance entrance,” he said. “I tried to walk through the ED and quickly realized I needed rubber boots to make my way through.”
“The most important thing, by that point, was that the patients were evacuated from the ED and I think one of the greatest memories of that evening is that we had 70 patients in the ED and they were evacuated within 17 minutes,” Khoury added. “When you think about that, that’s about one patient every 15 seconds. That’s probably the greatest accomplishment this department could have ever done.”
The Inpatient Pharmacy team had seen a few leaks and water issues in the past, but nothing on a scale like they experienced on Aug. 11, said Neha Desai, clinical pharmacy manager. This time, it was the entire pharmacy—and a number of our employees continued to work slogging through 4-5 inches of water so medication deliveries would not be interrupted.
Brett Clarke navigates the flood waters in the Inpatient Pharmacy at Oakwood Hospital — Dearborn on Aug. 11
“Actually, the employees stayed in the pharmacy (with zip-lock booties) until we were told to evacuate because water had reached an electrical panel and it was no longer safe to work there,” said Clinical Pharmacist Jessica Kiesznowski. “Half of the employees relocated up to the Operating Room pharmacy so they would be able to supply medications to Critical Care areas. The other half went to areas with spare computers so orders could continue to be processed. Even though our department was completely ruined, medication delivery was never paused. “
Pharmacy Director David Batkie, stayed throughout the night and did not leave until after the 7 a.m. disaster meeting was complete and staffing for the day was assessed and the department was stabilized for Tuesday operations. Monday night pharmacy staff included: Erin McGuire, Eric Munson, Mona Sabri, Brett Clarke, Lori Stocchi, Julie Lee, Patricia Liangos, Denise Ossiff, Louis Cancel, Paula Samul, Saju Geevarughese, Mariely Arellano, Kathy Kovach and Juan Miretti.
“They did not miss a beat in providing medications to all the patients in the hospital, even while the department was flooding,” said Desai. “The pharmacy department not only continued to function with wet walls and wet carpet, they also supported several departments as they were displaced and transplanted in a new location.”
The inpatient pharmacy is the last department to move out of the basement. The move will take place within the next two weeks with no interruption of patient care.