Hurricane baby born at BeebeEmergency room reports few injuries during storm
As Hurricane Sandy inched its way toward the Delaware beaches Oct. 29, Bridgeville couple Lauren and Billy Smith were preparing for another storm entirely.
Lauren, 20, started having contractions in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 29, as the storm was already bringing driving rain to the Cape Region. She had registered to give birth at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, and that's where the couple decided to go.
"It was definitely nerve-wracking," said Lauren. "We knew the storm was coming."
Smith said they considered going to a hospital closer to Bridgeville, but Lauren knew her doctor was at Beebe, so she wanted to go to Lewes.
"The wind was blowing, and the rain was coming down," said Lauren. "We were low on gas, and we considered turning around, but we stuck it out and made it to Beebe."
Lauren's water broke; the couple was admitted to the hospital by 6:30 a.m.
Twelve hours later, at 6 p.m., the hurricane was about to make landfall and 7-pound, 15-ounce Aria was born.
"She's healthy, and we are all happy," said Lauren. "It's something we won't forget."
Hospital slower than usual
Beebe often has a waiting room full of patients, but during the storm conditions Oct. 28-30, the Emergency Department was nearly empty.
On Monday, Oct. 29, the number of patients in the emergency room ranged from two to 10 people, said Kelly Griffin, spokeswoman for Beebe.
Griffin said on a normal day the emergency room sees nearly 120 people, but during the storm, only a few patients were treated, mostly for minor injuries such as falls. People were listening to traffic restrictions and taking measures to stay safe.
“The Beebe staff that came in yesterday stayed over,” Griffin said. “More than 140 team members required sleeping accommodations.”
Most employees brought their own air mattresses and linens, or used hospital air mattresses and open patient beds, she said.
Some hospital workers spent the night Sunday to make sure they could work the early morning shift, while others arrived as usual on Monday, Oct. 29, Griffin said.
All later shift team members came in earlier, while driving was less hazardous, so they were safe on the roads, she said.
Leadership staff members including directors, managers and executive staff volunteered for 12-hour shifts or longer to man the emergency command center, which opened at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, and stayed open until 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.
The number of patients in Beebe's emergency room was back to normal Oct. 31, said Griffin. At this point, Griffin said, doctors haven't seen any clean-up related injuries.