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Format: 04/17/2014
Format: 04/17/2014


KDKA-TV: US/Eastern Hospitals Use Strategies To Deal With Snow Reporting

Monday, February 15th, 2010

 The winter weather can pose some challenges to hospitals.

They can be extra busy, and may have trouble getting staff in to work.

From community hospitals to large academic medical centers, it takes a variety of strategies to keep things running for the patients.

"We had individuals who walked two, three miles in order to get here," said Andrea Kalina, of St. Clair Hospital Human Resources.

Some hospital staff volunteered to stay, sleeping in conference rooms, lab beds and even their own offices.

"I pulled a stretcher mattress in here," said Peggy Rohland, of St. Clair Hospital Emergency Services. "Everyone had packed a bag who came to work yesterday and they were prepared to stay."

At St. Clair Hospital, more than 100 workers stayed extra shifts last Friday and Saturday.

"I'd gotten a call from my one colleague who was still trying to unbury his car to get in for the night shift," said Dr. Laura Brookfield, an ER physician. "So, I thought I'd have to come in Saturday night, but he got his car out."

In severe weather, hospitals put emergency plans into place, and prepare to house, feed and clothe employees for as long as it takes.

"We have a couple of wings that are empty, so we let them sleep actually several nights at the hospital, said Gary Ciampanelli, the chief safety officer for Allegheny General Hospital.

But the overtime can be costly.

"Yes, there's some cost involved in that, and it's yet to be determined because there's an emergency declared if we're going to be able to recover some of that," said Ciampanelli.

Some of the efforts are just out of the goodness of the hearts of the employees.

"I had to pick someone up in Spring Hill, and it was uphill and nothing was plowed; so, it was a little scary for a little bit, but we made it," said Katie Giuliani, a nurse at Allegheny General Hospital, who volunteered to pick up co-workers in her four-wheel drive. "It was a little nerve-wracking, but it was fun. We made the best of it."

To read more, visit the KDKA website.

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