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Saint Clare's Storm Stories

September 1, 2011

In the wake of Hurricane Irene, Saint Clare’s would like to say a special thank you to all of our staff for their dedication in providing excellent medical care to our patients, offering support to our community, and supporting the broader evacuation effort throughout the State.

Through the smart planning and hard work of many individuals – including physicians, clinical, nursing, support services, managers and directors, who worked round-the-clock for days, beginning when N.J. Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency on Thursday, August 25 – Saint Clare’s was well-prepared to weather the storm and made the necessary arrangements in advance to assure the resources needed to provide patients with the same high quality care which they can always expect from Saint Clare’s.

Even while seriously impacted by the storm, countless members of the Saint Clare’s staff made an outstanding effort to assure that their patients were cared for. There are more amazing stories than we can tell, but we would like to share a sampling of these ‘storm stories’ with the community. We hope to share more stories and photos with our community in the coming days.

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Due to the impact of the storm, significant rainfall caused record flooding of the roads leading to our acute care hospitals. The situation was most serious for Saint Clare’s Hospital/Denville, where on Sunday, August 28, local authorities closed all roads leading to the campus. Clinical hospital staff, including nurses, OR technicians, clinical nurses assistants, and ancillary technicians, were transported from Dover to Denville throughout the afternoon in high-axel personnel carriers, provided by the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department and the National Guard. Pictured are staff members who took the first successful trip at 1:50 p.m. The transport vehicle narrowly avoided a fallen lamp post that came down just after the vehicle came through.

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Saint Clare’s hospitalists rode back in forth through the flood water between the Denville and Dover campuses in high-axel personnel carriers, like the one pictured here, wherever they were needed.

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When a patient needed emergency surgery at the Dover campus for a traumatic eye injury, Dr. Romesh Nayar boarded a high-axel personnel carrier to cross the flood waters and travel from the Denville hospital to the Dover campus.

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When the flood waters in Denville were too high to drive, Dr. Michael Hoffman was undeterred – he received a ride to campus in the cab of a front-loader truck in order to perform an emergency surgery.

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Patti Roediger, a registered nurse in Labor & Delivery, found herself housebound when the brook across the street from her home swelled its banks, blocking her only roadway out. But, when she was called into work on Sunday morning, she was determined to help. With the help of several neighbors, Patti found an unconventional way to travel to work that morning – kayak. A neighbor offered his kayak, and pushed Patti, now deemed “Kayak Patti” by her co-workers, across the flooded road. Once across, another neighbor drove Patti to the Dover hospital, where she cared for patients.

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Although Jennifer Waters, a registered nurse and operations manager in maternal child health, normally works at the Katena Center for Mother and Child at Saint Clare’s Hospital/Denville, she reported in to work in Dover where she was needed and, upon arriving, immediately came to the assistance of a mother in labor, helping to deliver her baby. Saint Clare’s provided maternity services onsite at the Dover campus during the hurricane to ensure safe delivery for babies born during the disaster.

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Dr. Lisa Li was determined to make her way into work at Saint Clare’s Hospital/Dover on Sunday morning, even after the major road that she normally took to work was blocked by a fallen tree. When taking an alternate route on windy road, she drove into sinkhole caused by the flooding that nearly swallowed her car. View Dr. Li’s interview with Fox 5 News to learn more.
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Do you have a storm story about Saint Clare’s response to Hurricane Irene that you would like to share? Please share your story, photo or video with us on Facebook. Note: please do not post any photos or video of patients.

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