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Killer Blizzard?
We've Got it Covered

Not even last month's record-breaking blizzard, which blanketed Baltimore with 36 inches of snow, could thwart Hopkins' Hospital's well-greased weather emergency plan. "It's very well-developed and has been tested over many years. We're not in the learning mode anymore," says Debbie Dang.

Dang is part of the seasoned weather emergency team that insures coordination and communication among all the hospital's services and functional units.

There was good news: "We had ample warning," says Dang. "As early as Friday, the functional units were reviewing their staffing." And there was bad: "At one point, the snow was falling at a rate of two inches an hour. We couldn't get ahead of it," says Hopkins Hospital's Facilities Administrator Carole Martens. But her team of mechanics plugged away, working for 16 hours, sleeping for four. No road or sidewalk, no entry way or loading dock, not even the helipad, escaped their merciless plows and shovels.
To help maintain operations and take care of patients, people from every conceivable corner of the hospital-Pharmacy, Nutrition, Admitting, Lab Medicine and elsewhere-spent the night, sleeping anywhere they could, on unoccupied beds, in spare chairs and on conference room floors.

One man came in early on Sunday and went home on Tuesday. Like many overnighters, he was given an air mattress, sheets, pillow and grooming kit. In between, he was on the units and in the cafeteria, chatting up staff, offering words of encouragement, and keeping an eye out. His name? Ron Peterson.

People of all ranks pitched in. "People really came through," says Peterson. "We should be proud of the dedication of our folks. It's really quite something."



Extraordinary Effort All Around

Throughout Hopkins Medicine, the stories were the same. The intrepid managed to make it to work and help out. JH Home Care nurses bulldozed through unplowed streets to see patients. On Monday, Feb. 17, with the entire city paralyzed, one nurse, chauffered by her husband, traveled to the Tremont Hotel, drew blood from a patient, then ferried it to Hopkins Hospital.

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians has offices from Rockville to Harford County and from Hagerstown to Annapolis, and yet on Tuesday when the snow finally relented, only one out of all 18 health centers was closed. One doctor walked all the way from Guilford to the East Baltimore Medical Center (EBMC) on Eager Street. One manager chauffeured her staff from Harford County to Wyman Park. At Marley, two doctors and three staff saw 25 patients, including four new ones. "Half of our staff and over half of our clinicians," says Barbara Cook, JHCP president, "were available to see patients, take hundreds of phones calls and handle prescription refills."




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