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Health & Hospitals

Sept. 7 - St. Joseph’s/Candler to Shift Operations to St. Joseph’s Hospital During Irma

Category: Health & Hospitals

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

September 7, 2017 - Due to the uncertainty of the force of this storm, St. Joseph’s/Candler will consolidate operations to St. Joseph's Hospital.  With the recent upgrades to that facility, it is better equipped to handle the long term needs of our caregivers, medical staff and any patients who are too sick to be discharged or evacuated.   

The newly renovated St. Joseph’s Hospital is now one of the strongest buildings in Savannah capable of withstanding significant hurricane force winds. In addition, it can run emergency power to the entire 330-bed building for a longer period of time. This includes the ability to air condition all patient areas and surgical suites. 

The main tower was upgraded with panels that can withstand 130 mile-per-hour winds and the new expansion includes glass that is rated for a 120 mile-per-hour impact. 

St. Joseph’s Hospital has a helicopter pad and a large area behind the hospital for any other necessary emergency vehicles.

Candler Hospital will temporarily close its facilities, including the emergency department, the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion as well as the medical office buildings on campus. Emergency obstetrics will be available at St. Joseph’s Hospital. 

The timing of the closure is contingent on how fast patients can be evacuated. 

Patients at both St. Joseph's Hospital and Candler Hospital are currently being evaluated to determine who can be evacuated to an inland hospital for care during the storm. Those patients who cannot be discharged or evacuated will be moved to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Babies in the Special Care Nursery (NICU) will be evacuated. 

The Candler Hospital emergency department will not be open during the storm or in the days afterwards.  The timing of the closure will be contingent upon the safe transfer, discharge or evacuation of current patients. 

St. Joseph’s/Candler leadership has been working with the Chatham Emergency Management Agency on this potential scenario for several months. Memorial University Medical Center in midtown Savannah is situated to handle that geographic area while St. Joseph’s Hospital on the Southside can cover the Southside and other outlying counties. 

In the event of an evacuation, St. Joseph's/Candler is not accepting special needs patients.  In accordance with county hurricane policies, families should contact CEMA directly to arrange evacuation to a nearby shelter. 

Please note that as we receive more information on the path and strength of the storm, plans could escalate to full evacuation status.

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