Wednesday’s storm surge flooded the emergency room on the lower level, while high winds ripped part of the roof off the intensive care unit on the fourth floor.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Hundreds of hospital patients were evacuated Thursday from facilities across the Fort Myers region after damage Hurricane Jan shut off the water supply. One area hospital has begun assessing the full damage from high winds that tore off parts of the roof and flooded the emergency room.

Other health systems in John’s path, from the state’s Gulf Coast to the Atlantic, also moved patients due to flood waters.

While too much water was the problem in most of the state, at least nine hospitals in Southwest Florida had the opposite problem.

“We have one large health system in Southwest Florida that has no water in all of their facilities. And so they are fast approaching the point where they will no longer be able to safely care for their patients. So it’s an urgent consideration to get these patients transferred,” said Mary Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association.

Mayhew said more than 1,200 patients were being evacuated.

Meanwhile, other hospitals may find themselves even more stressed, she said.

“Significant efforts are underway to save people who will also need medical attention. And identify hospital beds that are available in the region or elsewhere,” she said.

Hurricane Ian battered HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte from above and below as the storm flooded the emergency room on the lower level and strong winds ripped part of the fourth-floor roof off the intensive care unit, according to a doctor who works there.

Dr. Birgit Bodin spent the night at the hospital expecting the storm to keep things busy, “but we didn’t expect the roof on the fourth floor to come off,” she said.

Water gushed from above the intensive care unit on Wednesday, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital’s sickest patients – some on ventilators – to other floors. Employees resorted to towels and plastic containers to try to mop up the soggy mess.

The medium-sized hospital occupies four floors, but due to damage, patients were confined to only two floors.

Bodin plans to spend another night in the hospital if the approaching storm could worsen the situation.

“Ambulances may arrive soon and we don’t know where to put them in the hospital,” she said. “Because we’ve been doubled and tripled.”

Despite the flooding, Bodin said patients are mostly understanding and optimistic.

“For us, as horrible as it is and we’re exhausted … as long as our patients are OK and nobody dies or has a bad outcome, that’s what matters,” Bodin said.

In Orlando, residents of an Avante nursing home were evacuated by ambulances and waiting buses through flooding in an area that doesn’t normally experience flooding. Paramedics rolled out residents one by one on stretchers and wheelchairs. On nearby Isle of Palms, cars were flooded in a parking lot at the Baldwin apartment complex.

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