John-W-Hurricane-SandyHalloween certainly rolled in with a scare this year whenHurricane Sandy, a devastating storm, came blasting up the East coast. Sandyleft over 100 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. Whole communities incoastal New Jersey and New York were demolished. Mass transit was crippled (whocan yet comprehend that every line of the NY subway system was flooded?) andgas shortages paralyzed transportation further. Over eight millions homes werewithout power – some of which for weeks.

JohnWierzbowski, MSc, MPH, Safety/Emergency Preparedness manager, outside the PAHCommand Center during Hurricane Sandy.


Despite all this, PAH – as it is with all hospitals – had to continueoperating and providing a safe environment for patients and employees, even when SEPTA discontinued services and roads closed. Onceagain, PAH employees and staff rose to the occasion, came together and workeddiligently to put the safety and welfare of our patients first to literally“weather the storm” that was Hurricane Sandy.

Robert(Bob) Jones, CPhT, a certified Pharmacy technician, wasso concerned about not letting his team down that he walked for four hours through hurricane winds from his home inGermantown to make it in for his shift.

Operating room nurse Dawn Brown from Delaware had her ownparticular transportation obstacles to overcome. A state of emergency was called theearliest in DE and no cars were permitted to drive on the road on its highways.Dawn, who also happens to be a former police officer, was determined to make itin and drove during the “vehicle on road” ban. Dawn was pulled over no less than four timesto be questioned by the police while driving in. Temporarilythwarted but not deterred, she could have gone home at any time, but wouldn’tgive up.

Neurosurgeon Gordon Baltuch, MD, PhD, called Sean Rowland, CRNA, MA, vice president of Peri-Operative servicesto let him know he lived close to the hospital and was available to help duringSandy. “It wasn’t his surgical day, so I thanked him and ended the call,” saidRowland. “A few hours later I saw him in the hall with his coat. He had obviouslyjust walked in from home. Again, Dr. Baltuch asked how he could be of help…He said he would do anything we needed,circulate as a nurse, be a scrub tech for another surgeon and even movepatients.”

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