Although Hurricane Laura was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in over 150 years, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) has been able to provide continual care prior to and in the days following the storm. Our facility has remained on uninterrupted generator power since the storm made landfall.
In a region frequented by hurricanes, disaster preparedness planning, and ongoing investment in our infrastructure is vital. “With the support of local and state government, our organization has continually invested in our facility’s infrastructure. As a result, we were able to remain operational before and immediately after Hurricane Laura,” said Janie Frugé, CEO of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “Water is a vital resource for hospitals to properly operate and provide continual patient care. Due to backup generators at the City of Sulphur’s Water Plant, our facility did not completely lose water, but did lose water pressure. We remain under a boil advisory, and have secured drinking water and non-potable water to continue running the chillers for our HVAC system.”
The ER was able to resume patient care at 8:30 a.m. the morning after Hurricane Laura made landfall and remains open. “We are limiting admissions to urgent and emergent cases and have capacity for ER, medical-surgical, and ICU services,” said Frugé. Currently, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is providing the following ancillary services with limited capacity: lab, radiology, pharmacy, and pathology functioning.
Additionally, at the request of the state, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deployed a team of medical professionals from its National Medical Disaster System (NDMS) to support the triage and treatment of patients coming to our hospital. The NDMS team arrived Monday, August 31, and set-up operations outside of our emergency department on Tuesday, September 1. “NDMS responders are working collaboratively with our staff to address the needs of this community,” said Kenny Adamson, ER Director of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital.
“We are fortunate to have a hospital and healthcare team in our city that is dedicated to caring for our community every day, but especially in times of disaster. To know that the City of Sulphur and the entire Southwest Louisiana community can rely upon a hospital dedicated to their community solidifies West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s role as the backbone of this community,” stated Mike Danahay, Mayor of the City of Sulphur.
Several industry partners from the WCCH service district, like CITGO, have stepped up to supply immediate infrastructure needs in order to remain operational and provide uninterrupted patient care. “This storm has devastated nearly every facet of Southwest Louisiana—including many of our employees and their families. What gives us strength and hope is seeing the great work being done by WCCH to ensure our community has access to healthcare. I’m so proud of the CITGO Lake Charles team for rallying together so quickly to ensure WCCH was never without fuel to run the generators and help provide uninterrupted power for the staff and patients,” said Jerry Dunn, Vice President and General Manager of CITGO’s Lake Charles Refinery.
The employees of WCCH have risen to the ultimate challenge and have shown immense courage and bravery in meeting the needs of the Southwest Louisiana community during this natural disaster, even when they were dealing with loss to their own personal property. “Our employees and medical staff are the heart of this organization and I am incredibly proud of our team. While our facility has been tattered in places, the spirit of our employees and this community will carry us through,” said Frugé.
The Hackberry Rural Health Clinic of WCCH sustained significant damage as a result of wind. Cameron LNG has reached out to offer support for the citizens of Cameron Parish. “The clinic is a vital part of our community providing accessible quality healthcare, and our team is working to restablish services in a portable building as soon as possible,” said Stevie Trahan, Cameron LNG External Affairs manager.
“We consider providing healthcare to the citizens in our service district: Sulphur, Carlyss, Westlake, Vinton, and Hackberry, especially in times of need, a privilege. We are grateful for the ongoing support from parish and state government, as well as our industry partners, for their ongoing support of our mission,” said Joe Devall, Chairman of the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Board of Commissioners.
Additionally, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital wants to thank members of our Louisiana Legislative delegation, the Louisiana Department of Health, including their Emergency Support Function (ESF -8) unit, Louisiana Hospital Association, local industry, and so many others for their support and assistance.
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital remains committed to providing exceptional patient care – even in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. WCCH will continue to provide updates on our website, www.wcch.com and the Hospital’s social media channels.