University Hospital remained on hospital-overflow alert Thursday following Tuesday’s terrorist tragedies, but Meriter Hospital received official word it will not be needed.
Both hospitals are part of the National Disaster Medical System, which works to make sure excess patients get the care they need.
“It’s sort of a ripple effect,” said Tim Lemonds, spokesperson for University Hospital.
As hospitals on the East Coast fill up with both victims of Tuesday’s tragedy and the usual expected intake of patients, surrounding hospitals pick up the overflow.
“Patients are diverted to the next hospital, and it just works its way further and further out,” Lemonds said.
By Wednesday night hospitals in Indiana were experiencing this surge, but Lemonds said it was unlikely University Hospital would take in any of these patients.
“It’s likely that we won’t,” Lemonds said. “Unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of survivors.”
Meriter Hospital was on alert until Thursday morning.
“We have gotten official word from Milwaukee that we aren’t going to be receiving any patients,” hospital spokesperson Mae Knowles said.
Both Meriter and University Hospital were notified after Tuesday’s tragedy that their help might be needed.
“As part of the system, we had an agreement that we would ready somewhere around 100 beds,” Knowles said.
She said the hospital immediately began preparing for any patients they might have received.
“We were looking at everything from blood supply to pharmaceuticals to actual physical beds,” Knowles said. “We did have the resources we committed to and would have been prepared if called on.”
University Hospital, a level-one trauma center, is committed to accepting up to 160 patients, and is one of the few hospitals prepared to treat burn victims.
“We’ve made seven critical burn beds available and twenty non-critical beds available,” Lemonds said. “If there’s going to be a large influx of burn victims, we’re willing to accept these patients.”
The hospital has also cancelled elective surgeries through Friday.
“Tomorrow we’ll probably be back to normal operations,” Lemonds said.
University Hospital said its services extend beyond the National Disaster Medical System. Right now the hospital’s pharmaceuticals section is handling calls from physicians in New York. The hospital has also sent out information to its workers with a list of contact numbers and ways to help out, including financial aid.
“Right now it seems the biggest need is money,” Lemonds said.