PARKERSBURG - Dialysis patients and residents dependent on oxygen were in dire straits when the power went off June 29 in a massive and severe storm.
Without options, many with special needs went to the Memorial and St. Joseph's campuses of Camden Clark Medical Center for assistance. Staff at both locations set up areas where there was access to power to run their machines as well as supply oxygen.
People began arriving at the emergency rooms of both campuses soon after the power went out, said Susan Abdella, director of Emergency Services.
''Nothing was working (in people's homes),'' she said. ''We started getting a lot of people.''
Hospital officials began screening patients and situated those who needed help.
They had access to clean bedding and family was available to assist in their care.
Twenty people were at the Memorial Campus and 24 at St. Joseph's, Abdella said. The section at St. Joseph's continued to serve people until the end of the week while the last person left Memorial on Wednesday and the makeshift unit was shut down, she said.
''The goal now is to help get these people back home as soon as possible,'' said Allison Maher, director of Cardio and Vascular Services.
Residents will be able to go home as their power is restored, she said.
Abdella and Maher commended hospital staff for quickly putting these special units together and maintaining them.
''Many of our staff were in the same position as many, they had no power, no water and had trees down,'' Abdella said. ''We had no call-offs. Everyone pulled together to make sure this worked. The staffs from both campuses functioned as one team.''
Maher said the staff pulled together in a time of need to make sure the situation worked for everyone.
''I am very proud of the staff,'' she said.
Many people gathered at both campuses following the storms as people were looking for information about what happened and seeking other help. The medical center ended up serving more than 3,000 meals to residents with doctors and others lending a hand in preparing food and doing other things.
''It was an interesting time,'' Abdella said. ''It was stressful, but everyone worked together, putting the patients and the community first.''