Record Number of Emergency Patients Reported At Suburban
Many treated in the hospital's emergency department over the weekend suffered from heat exhaustion.
Suburban Hospital treated a record number of patients in its emergency department following Friday’s violent derecho storms, which left thousands without power and sweltering in the summer heat.
The Old Georgetown Road facility has treated about 150 patients each day since the storm, with Saturday and Sunday marking the greatest number of patients seen in a 48-hour period in the hospital’s emergency department, according to a hospital statement.
By Tuesday, the flow of patients was slowing.
Over the weekend, physicians treated a “significant” number of patients suffering from heat exhaustion, many of whom were elderly, said Ronna Borenstein-Levy, a hospital spokeswoman.
“In extreme heat, when the AC goes out, it’s people who already have existing problems that are the quickest to have an emergency,” Borenstein-Levy said. “Certainly, the elderly and anyone with an existing medical condition.”
Some of the elderly patients treated were from nursing homes that were without power following the storm, Borenstein-Levy said. As of Monday, 33 nursing homes and other health facilities across Maryland were running on generators, with four of those working without air conditioning, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials announced in a press conference yesterday.
The hospital was also treating patients who were using the emergency room because their doctors’ offices were closed due to lack of power, Borenstein-Levy said.
The hospital didn’t have to treat any patients with storm-related injuries.
Suburban regularly uses drills to prepare for emergency scenarios, Borenstein-Levy said.
“We have all kinds of modes of backup communication to contact staff and to bring in extra staff when needed,” Borenstein-Levy said. “We’re fortunate to have a very dedicated staff of physicians and nurses and affiliated healthcare employees who know they’re essential and make every effort to come to work. That’s true whether there’s a snow storm, a hurricane or a power outage.”