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Snow Days

Snow Days

Employees throughout the Johns Hopkins Health System demonstrate their dedication during the historic blizzard.

Nearly 3 feet of snow fell on the Baltimore region during the historic storm of Jan. 22–23 — a local record. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency. Schools and businesses closed. But Winter Storm Jonas didn’t stop Johns Hopkins Medicine. More than 3,500 staff members bunked down at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Suburban Hospital and Howard County General Hospital. Some arrived on Friday before the snow started and didn’t leave until Tuesday.

Between shifts, staffers slept on cots and played in the snow. As the drifts piled up and the region came to a standstill, the hospitals bustled. From Friday afternoon to Sunday night, 60 babies were delivered, 73 surgeries were performed and many memories were made.

The photo shows Juanita Maye and Amy Cammer.

Shelter from the Storm

When the weather turned deadly, Baltimore’s homeless, mentally ill and addicted made their way through blinding snow to The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“Typically we treat a lot of homeless patients, but these were the ones we don’t normally see, the ones who came in as their last resort,” says Amy Cammer, nurse case manager in the Emergency Department.

Cammer and Emergency Department social worker Juanita Maye made sure patients had a place to go after treatment. “Amy and I worked together the entire time,” says Maye. They contacted the mayor’s office to find space for the patients, then tapped the National Guard for transportation.  

The homeless were men and women of all ages, including two preteen children. Many were experiencing substance withdrawal. One man refused shelter, though he accepted food and let doctors treat a wound on his leg. 

Cammer, who arrived at the hospital at 8 on Saturday morning, estimates she helped more than 20 people find places to stay by the time she left 51 hours later.  

Truckin’ in from Timonium

On Sunday night of the blizzard, Rolita West texted her supervisor that there was no way she could leave her apartment complex in Timonium. From her living room window, the Johns Hopkins Hospital social worker couldn’t even see her car in the unplowed parking lot. Her heart was heavy. West knew that her patients at the Moore Clinic couldn’t miss a day of treatment. “I knew that even if the clinic closed, many would come in and pick up their drugs at the pharmacy,” she says. “And these patients almost always need help dealing with insurance and copays.”

Frustrated, West enlisted the help of her sister, a truck driver from Kansas City, Missouri, who had extended her Christmas stay in Baltimore. Her 18-wheeler was parked a few blocks away on a cleared street. Together they trudged through the snow and began what would turn into a treacherous two-hour trip—down I-83 south and up Monument Street, to The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Only 10 of the clinic’s 50 staffers made it to work that day. West’s supervisor, senior clinical social worker Anne Harper, was not surprised to see her. “Rolita is well-loved by staff members and patients, and always demonstrates a strong commitment,” Harper says. For West, the payoff came when a patient spotted her, smiled and exclaimed, “I’m so glad you’re here because I need my medicine!”

Judy F. Minkove contributed to this report.

 

Scenes from the Snow

Snow Days
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Labor and delivery nurses Valerie Sanford, in purple, Renee Naglieri, in white, and Mandi Wiley, in blue, step outside The Johns Hopkins Hospital to enjoy the snow.
Snow Days
SLEEPING DUTIES: Materials management staffers Lillie Pinnix and Davon Scruggs distribute cots for employees of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Snow Days
GOOD IMPRESSION: Genci Sallabanda, echocardiography technologist at Sibley Memorial Hospital, makes a snow angel.
Snow Days
GOING MY WAY?: Psychiatric nurse Bernice Brooks-Plymouth runs for a snowplow that has stopped to give her a ride to The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Snow Days
TAKING COMMAND: Richard Bennett, president of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, walks to the hospital’s command center with Danielle Wharton, senior director of support operations. The photo was taken by Maria Koszalka, vice president of patient care services, who also led operations during the storm.
Snow Days
SNOW SMILES: M.J. Cole, left, and Cassandra Cowan, center, technicians in the surgical intensive care unit of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, share a laugh with nurse clinician Megan Roberts as the snowstorm intensified on Friday night.
Snow Days
HOMEWARD BOUND: Joyce Sparwasser, Emergency Department nurse at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, drove several patients safely home on Sunday. Sparwasser, in scrubs, is pictured with security officer Dennis Johnson and patient registrar Tracy Stewart.
Snow Days
TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVEL: William Samons of plant operations clears stairs at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
Snow Days
SUN DAY: Suburban Hospital staffers enjoy post-blizzard sun. Front row: Nurses Jade Cheng, Tammy Snodgrass, Yaa Adjekum, Yeni Deberas, Matilda Hazeley-Mutongi (obscured), Danielle Crane. Back row: Nurses Kemah Zinnah, Almaz Mussie and Kim Kelly; environmental services associates Maris Moreno-Salazar and Jornett Hamilton; patient care technician Maria Simoes.
Snow Days
NEVER MIND THE WEATHER: Vuk Sekicki, Yuneng Li and Shanthi Nadar are three of the 10 Johns Hopkins Community Physicians hospitalists who stayed overnight at Suburban Hospital during the blizzard.
Snow Days
GOOD SAMARITANS: Pediatric emergency nurse Naomi Cross gets help from two road workers after getting stuck in snow on her way to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. She left her Towson home at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. shift and made it to work with 10 minutes to spare. “Everyone seemed well-prepared and in good spirits,” says Cross, who stayed at the hospital overnight and worked another shift on Sunday.
Snow Days
A HELPING HAND: Members of the Maryland National Guard drove about 40 Howard County General Hospital employees to work, including nurse Amy McDaniel.
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