San Diego-Area Hospitals Affected by Wildfires
Many San Diego County hospitals have closed, canceled elective surgeries or reduced operations at outpatient clinics and administrative offices because of their proximity to fire zones, poor air quality and limited staff, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Tamara Hemmerly, a spokesperson for Palomar Pomerado Health, said that while emergency surgeries are being performed as needed, hospitals are trying to reduce the number of surgeries because "any particulates could affect the patient." She added that air quality was being monitored and that elective surgeries will be rescheduled after air quality improves. Gustavo Friederichsen, a spokesperson for Sharp HealthCare, said many outpatient centers were closed because "[p]eople who work there can't get to them, and patients can't get there, too." The cancellations of elective surgeries are "forcing doctors and patients to juggle their schedules," the Union-Tribune reports. "There is a fallout here that will have a ripple effect for months," Dr. Jim Knight, president of the San Diego County Medical Society, said, adding, "People thought they were going to be off work and having their surgery. That has an impact on everybody." Despite shipment delays and an increase in the number of patients seeking respiratory treatment as a result of the wildfires, which spread through Southern California this weekend, most hospital officials said that their facilities are "well-stocked with supplies," the Union-Tribune reports (Berestein, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/29).