Safety

Only hospital on St. Thomas loses roof to Irma; patients evacuated to other U.S. isles

Hospital Safety Insider, September 8, 2017

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The U.S. Virgin Islands endured hours of heavy rain and sustained wind speeds of 150 mph as Hurricane Irma passed through the Caribbean territory Wednesday, leaving behind widespread destruction.

Schneider Regional Medical Center, the only hospital on St. Thomas, sustained severe damage, Gov. Kenneth Mapp said Thursday. Some of the facility?s walls are damaged, the windows are blown in, and the ?membrane of the entire roof? is gone, Mapp said, the St. Thomas Source reported Friday. 

The 37 patients at the facility were being evacuated to St. Croix and Puerto Rico with help from the U.S. military.

Despite the severe damage, the emergency room at Schneider remained operational as authorities sought to establish a temporary medical facility, Mapp added. They could convert a school to serve as that facility rather than rely on the types of tents used after Hurricane Hugo ravaged the islands in 1989. Windy weather in the forecast could make tents too risky.

In a series of short updates posted to Twitter, the U.S. Virgin Islands Government House said Friday morning that relocations of hospital patients from St. Thomas to other facilities had been completed successfully.



President Donald Trump directed federal aid to the islands, declaring Thursday that a major disaster had struck the territory. Irma, meantime, is now expected to hit the continental U.S., with possible landfall projected for Sunday morning, prompting some hospitals in the state's southernmost counties to evacuate preemptively and others to stock up on supplies.



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