Gulf Coast Atlantic hospitals at risk of flooding, study finds

A new study has revealed how many hospitals are at risk of flooding from hurricanes here in the United States.

“Our study really asked the question, ‘How resilient is our hospital care that serves approximately one in four people in the United States who live on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts?'” said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, a pediatrician and climate expert. He is also interim director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

He said these storms are getting stronger as ocean temperatures rise.

“Ocean heat is hurricane food,” he said.

In September, hospitals in Florida were evacuated due to Hurricane Ian. One hospital – HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Charlotte County – closed the day after the hurricane due to storm damage.

“About a third of the metro area from the southern tip of Texas to the tip of Maine has about half of its hospitals at risk of flooding from a relatively weak storm. Category 2 storm,” said dr. Bernstein.

Access to these hospitals can also be challenging, according to the study.

“Especially in Florida, there are a lot of metro areas in Florida that we’ve found where more than half of the roads are likely to be inaccessible within a mile of a hospital,” he said.

Experts say if you need regular hospital access, be prepared, especially during hurricane season.

“If you need regular access to a hospital for the care you need, whether it’s a drug infusion or radiation therapy or something else, and it’s pretty clear that the hospital is going to be unavailable because of the flooding, I think it’s really helpful to plan with your providers service plan B,” said dr. Bernstein.

He said you can do this by making sure you have enough medical supplies you might need during hurricane season.

“I think it’s really important for people to take control of their medical records as much as possible and have a one-page summary of what their diagnoses are, what their medications are, and some relevant lab tests,” he explained.

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