Hurricane Ian floods Florida hospital, tearing off part of the roof

The storm surge inundated the basement emergency room on Wednesday, while high winds tore off part of the roof of the fourth-floor intensive care unit.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Hurricane Ian flooded a Florida hospital from above and below, the storm surge inundating the emergency room on the lower level while high winds tore part of the fourth-story roof off the ICU, according to a doctor working there.

dr Birgit Bodine spent the night at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte expecting the storm to weigh things down, “but we didn’t expect the fourth floor roof to blow off,” she said.

Water poured into the intensive care unit from above on Wednesday, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital’s sickest patients – some of them on ventilators – to other floors. Staff grabbed towels and plastic bins to try to clean up the sodden mess.

The medium-sized hospital has four floors, but patients have been forced down only two floors because of the damage.

Bodine plans to spend another night in hospital as storm injuries could make matters worse.

“The ambulances may be coming soon and we don’t know where to put them in the hospital at this point,” she said. “Because we’re doubled and tripled.”

Despite the flooding, Bodine said, for the most part, patients have been understanding and optimistic.

“For us, everything is horrible and we’re exhausted … as long as our patients are doing well and nobody ends up dying or having a bad outcome, that’s important,” Bodine said.

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Laura Coffey

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