The Orlando Health healthcare system is admitting nearly 30 patients from Lee Health in Lee County, one of the hospital systems that was most impacted by Hurricane Ian. In addition to adult patients, several newborns are being admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.

“Devastating events like this require a collective approach to provide help where it’s needed most. Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, and the entire Orlando Health system, are proud to help our fellow medical providers in Southwest Florida as they recover from Hurricane Ian,” said John Moore, president, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. “Our team is ready to provide the excellent care that Bay-area and Central Florida residents have come to expect from our healthcare system. Our primary goal is to ensure that these patients receive the best care possible,” said Moore.

Hundreds of patient transfers are being initiated after damage from the storm impacted the power and water pressure of several Southwest Florida hospitals. Adequate water pressure and power are essential for hospitals to provide patient care and properly operate coolant systems. Transferring patients to hospital systems less impacted by the storm prevents life-threatening interruptions to patient care.

Several of the transfers are being facilitated by the Orlando Health Air Care Team. The hospital-based, multiple aircraft flight program is designed to respond to incidents on-scene and provide hospital transfers across an 11-county region.

Since it began in 1984, the Orlando Health flight program has safely transported more than 40,000 patients. The flight program has four helicopters, including the only Lake County-based emergency medical helicopter at Leesburg International Airport. The Air Care Team is part of Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, which is one of 10 Level One trauma centers in the state and the only Level One trauma center in Area 8 (Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Sumter Counties). The Orlando Health Air Care Team provides high-level care to patients while providing rapid air medical transport to the most appropriate hospital.

The need for patient transfers from Fort Myers and surrounding areas is expected to continue following the record-making hurricane. Patients are being transported to hospitals throughout the Orlando Health hospital system based on their individual medical needs.