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Are California Hospitals Prepared for Disaster?

As San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, we were concerned when we saw images of patients being hastily evacuated from New York City hospitals during the height of Hurricane Sandy. In its wake, many are questioning whether the facilities should have been better prepared for a natural disaster.

Here in Southern California, hospitals are also at risk for natural disasters, including earthquakes, wild fires, and weather events. After seeing what can happen in New York City, many California health officials are now reexamining their own disaster plans, according the Los Angeles Times. The need to secure fuel and water supplies, prepare for crowd control, and recruit volunteers with ham radio experience to maintain communication were all highlighted by Hurricane Sandy.

“If hospitals in a city like New York that is generally very well-prepared for emergencies weren’t up to snuff for Hurricane Sandy, how well will other hospitals do under similar circumstances?” said Arthur Kellermann, director of Rand Health, a nonprofit think tank in Santa Monica. “You want your hospitals to serve as a pillar of strength rather than a site of disaster in need of rescue.”

Several San Diego area hospitals have already reportedly improved their disaster planning after the major blackout last year. Scripps Mercy and Sharp Memorial both experienced problems with maintaining backup power, according to the Times.

The state government is also reportedly working to fund mobile hospitals that can be used during disasters. State funding is expected to run out next year, and officials are looking to secure approximately $1 million in outside funding to house and maintain the three mobile field hospitals.

If you or someone you love has suffered from a medical error,contact a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.