How Myrtle Beach area hospitals are handling the Hurricane Florence evacuation order

Mandatory evacuation to move 1 million people from SC coast, governor says

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster announced a mandatory evacuation of the South Carolina coast, set to begin at noon Tuesday, Sept. 10.
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S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster announced a mandatory evacuation of the South Carolina coast, set to begin at noon Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Gov. Henry McMaster’s evacuation order ahead of Hurricane Florence will impact numerous hospitals and medical centers in the Grand Strand area. Here’s how each is responding to the impact:

Tidelands Health

Tidelands Health is taking immediate steps to evacuate patients at Waccamaw Community Hospital, Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Health Rehabilitation Hospital, according to a company news release.

The medical evacuation order took effect beginning 1 p.m. Monday, and Tidelands’ application for an evacuation waiver was denied, giving the facilities 72 hours to complete the evacuation.

Decisions on where patients will be transferred have not been announced, but will be made by state officials based on the capacity of hospitals outside the impacted areas, the release states.

In instances where a patient’s physician determines it would be more dangerous to evacuate the patient than keep them in place, Tidelands staff will remain to care for those patients before, during and after the storm.

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The Waccamaw and Georgetown hospitals are closed to new admissions, effective immediately, though the emergency departments will remain open to the public until three hours before winds begin to affect the area, with the closure currently estimated to begin 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to the release.

Tidelands outpatient and support departments will continue to see patients until the general evacuation order begins at noon Tuesday.

Grand Strand Medical Center

UPDATE: The ER at Grand Strand Medical Center closed at 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to a news release. It will reopen as quickly as possible following the storm, the center’s chief medical officer said in the release.

Grand Strand Medical Center will be evacuating its patients and staff ahead of Florence’s arrival, according to a Tuesday news release. The North Strand and South Strand emergency centers will be temporarily closed.

Grand Strand Health has begun moving patients to its sister HCA Healthcare hospitals and other South Carolina hospitals, a news release states.

“During this evacuation period, we urge everyone to be prepared and be safe,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Schwartz said in the press release. “Remember to have on hand 14 days of medications, water and food.”

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Conway Medical Center

Conway Medical Center is not in an evacuation zone, and its emergency department will be open and accepting patients through the storm, according to a company news release.

The center’s pharmacy is not available to fill the general public’s prescription needs, a separate release stated Wednesday.

Their physician group offices and outpatient locations are closed and will reopen Monday, Sept. 17 if conditions allow. All non-emergency and endoscopic procedures have been canceled for the rest of the week.

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McLeod Health Seacoast

McLeod Health Seacoast is not in an evacuation zone and will continue to have patients in the hospital, according to spokeswoman Kelly Hughes.

Waccamaw Medical Center

Waccamaw Medical Center has crews and will be there through the storm.

David Weissman: @WeissmanMBO; 843-626-0305