- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hospitals in the Washington area aren’t allowing the threat of Hurricane Isabel to disrupt their daily routine of caring for patients.

“Nothing will interfere with patient care,” said Lynn Myers, spokeswoman for the Montgomery General Hospital in Olney.

Most hospitals in Northern Virginia, the District and Maryland are not canceling surgeries or transporting any patients to hospitals outside Isabel’s path.

“Normal procedures will be followed and, if needed, we have a disaster plan that will go into effect,” said Sharon Waski, director of risk at Northern Virginia Community Hospital in Arlington City.



“Our staff has been asked to become refamiliarized with the disaster plans, but we are expecting to provide service as usual,” said a spokesman for Children’s Hospital in the District.

Collective disaster plans for the region were organized to allow the hospitals to maintain regular operating procedures. Hospital officials say extra food, water and batteries are on hand.

Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring set up an emergency disaster center to handle all incidents related to Isabel.

“We had deliveries that were scheduled for Thursday moved up a day, so we now have five days of food in stock,” said Michael Hall, spokesman for Holy Cross.

Hospital officials said they are well prepared to sustain themselves for at least a week without power.

“Our facility has a second power source outside the neighborhood in the event power goes out here, and if that fails there are three generators that would be able to supply power for up to 10 days,” said Mr. Hall.

Many of the hospitals have banded together in response to Isabel. Along with individual emergency disaster centers “we have something called ‘the collaboration’ in which the area hospitals will not only keep open communication but help each other out if need be,” said Miss Myers.

Local hospitals continued other activities as usual. Inova Mount Vernon Hospital has not canceled its annual outdoor patient-reunion lunch, slated for this afternoon.

“I know it’s bizarre, but while our environmental services and maintenance is taking stuff down and bringing it in, we are putting up tables and chairs,” said Rita Wakefield, marketing and communications person for Inova Mount Vernon.

“We have invited 400 people, and it’s supposed to be over by 2 p.m., so we are just going to try and beat it [Isabel],” she said.

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