Safety

Fargo, ND facilities evacuate patients in preparation for record flooding

Emergency Management Alert, March 31, 2009

The MeritCare Health System began the evacuation of 180 patients from its facilities in Fargo, ND, on March 26 in the face of record Red River Valley flooding.

After consulting with local and state emergency services, the health system made the decision to evacuate patients from MeritCare Hospital and MeritCare South University Hospital, according to the health system’s Web site.

The hospitals evacuated patients with care needs ranging from minor to critical, transferring them to hospitals in Minnesota, South Dakota, and neighboring cities in North Dakota. The hospitals used LifeFlight, ambulances, and buses to transfer patients, with physicians, nurses, and emergency medical technicians accompanying patients, depending on the level of care necessary for each person, the hospital said. Necessary medical equipment and supplies were also transferred with each patient.

The emergency center at MeritCare’s downtown location remained open, with plans to stabilize patients and transport them to other hospitals. At least four long-term care facilities also relocated residents to area hospitals, reported the Perham Enterprise Bulletin. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospital in Fargo also transferred a number of patients to other VA hospitals in several states.

On Monday, Fargo residents braced for an early spring snowstorm and hoped for the best as the record floodwaters began to recede.

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