The storm had caused most businesses to shut down earlier this week becasue of too much snow and no electricity, but Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital needs to stay open to provide needed medical care. As soon as the storm hit the hospital went into triage status and set regular management and staff meetings to keep systems running. The hospital did lose power but has generator capabilities to keep emergency services running and maintain a level of appropriate care. However, Chief Medical Officer Jeff Rosenburg said staffing became an issue, because of the conditions, it was a challenge getting fresh staff onsite.
When it was possible, staff that were able to get out of their homes drove to the closest roadblock and then law enforcement would transport them to the hospital.
Another issue was people without power or a place to stay would work their way to the hospital to seek refuge or needed to charge medical equipment or minor medical issue that didn’t require hospitalization, but there was now here to send them.
The result was a log jam as the ability to make space for incoming patients kept arriving.
Dr. Rosenburg says the hospital has its own ambulance service, complete with four-wheel drive vehicles, but accessing some areas was challenge with downed trees and deep snow slowing transit.
Rosenburg says the generators are powerful, but do not provide sufficient energy to run all services. And once power comes back it takes a while to transition.