Local hospital running business as usual with additional patients in town

Patience evacuees transported to AUMC.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – More people in the CSRA means more healthcare. And Augusta University Medical Center wants evacuees to know it is operating business as usual.

The most critical patients arrived last night at Augusta University Medical Center. Others will follow. They’re coming from Savannah’s Memorial Medical Center and a few other hospitals too.

From the smallest of those in need, Augusta University Medical Center opened its doors to Savannah’s sick not wanting them to be left behind as Hurricane Irma charts its pathway through the southeast.

Assistant Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Coule spoke with media Friday afternoon about how the process.

“We received 12 neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients that were brought to us in a variety of means, including a large number via helicopter,” he said.

AU Medical Center CEO Lee Ann Liska added, “These patients are coming with staff, they’re coming with their family. One of the things that we’re doing to create capacity is also making sure that we’re discharging as many patients as we can.”

More than 50 transfers came to Augusta for healthcare, a lot of them with supplies and extra medical hands to help. And in addition to working on campus, AU Medical Center will also be dispatched to shelters.

“As much as possible, we’re trying to make sure that we keep the emergency department off loaded,” Dr. Coule said. “Part of our effort here is to make sure that we’re able to deal with conditions that people in a shelter may have before the event, before it becomes an emergency.”

Liska also told us, “As an academic medical center we are a perfect place for these patients to come to because we can take care of really, any level of care.”

The team stressed that Augusta University Medical Centers participates in group calls daily to make sure they have updated information about Irma.

Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins

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