THIBODAUX, La. (KLFY) — Hospitals in Southeast Louisiana were already overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients before Hurricane Ida made landfall. 150 mph winds caused so much damage to local hospitals that some were forced to evacuate. News 10’s Caroline Marcello spoke to the CEO of Thibodeaux Regional Medical Center — the only hospital in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes that was fully operational during the storm.
“It’s been quite an experience to say the least,” said hospital CEO Greg Stock. “I’ve been here 31 years, so we’ve been through a lot of storms even going back to Hurricane Andrew. This particular storm put four other hospitals in the area out of business, so to speak, in the first 24 hours.”
Patients from hospitals across the bayou region were transported to Thibodeaux Regional and other hospitals to get out of harm’s way. Some of those hospitals have opened certain services, but most are still recovering.
“We’ve seen eight ambulances arrive here at one time,” said Stock. “We had 19 in patients in our emergency department waiting for a bed yesterday morning. We still have 30 to 40 Covid patients, which complicates things.” Stock says it’s been one challenge after another.
Hurricane Ida’s heavy winds knocked out three of the hospital’s five generators during the brunt of the storm.
“Our critical care unit went dark, but areas of the hospital had power,” said Stock. “I was in there when it happened, it was amazing. People were using their phone lights. The problem-solving that went into play there was really admirable. I’ve been around this a long time and I’ve never seen anything like it. Staff came from other areas, physicians were involved and here these patients a lot of them are on ventilators. Where they had to use bags and manually helping them breathe.”
Stock says patients were moved down the stairs because elevators not working.
“We got down there, we didn’t lose anyone,” he said. “You can lose people in those deals. We didn’t lose anybody. We just went on. That’s this hospital, though. We just go on.”