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    Posted August 28, 2011 by
    Seacaucus, New Jersey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Irene's aftermath

    tgregorio and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Irene's aftermath
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    Hospital on the water stays open


    August 28, 2011 - It was just another day at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center…………….

    The newscasters were calling it a “historic hurricane” while we watched and waited. Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus required all essential personnel to arrive Saturday afternoon to prep for Hurricane Irene. Early arrival was our best decision. Thankfully, we didn’t wait to meet Irene.

    In a grade school on higher ground, we set up an outpost Emergency Room in case the hospital location flooded. Not much happened Saturday evening except the constant raining, so we sent everyone to bed early.  100 cots were set up to accommodate our employees. We got some very valuable shut-eye in preparation for Irene’s aftermath.

    So did we end up flooding? Well, the two kayakers in our parking lot might say “Yes”. The Hackensack River actually met Meadowlands Parkway. Very quickly, we became an island onto ourselves. The E.R. outpost kicked into gear and several patients were seen there. The first patient with chest pains, who needed hospitalization, came in the back of a red pick-up truck with Dr. Lee, the ER doc, covering her with an umbrella! Several more were transferred via SWAT vehicles. Hudson County OEM staff came through in a big way! We have had many Kodak moments here today.

    All our employee cars were parked on top of the parking garage down the street. We had shuttled them back and forth. By this time, staff was scurrying about in high spirits, mopping up small leaks that were springing up on every floor. Just before we started to high-five each other to celebrate our survival, the power went out. Our emergency generator kicked in right away so we breathed a sigh of relief.

    And then we heard the screams! A mommy was in active labor. From the back of the SWAT vehicle, all the way to the Delivery room, Mom was yelling louder than Hurricane Irene. A short while later, Baby Audrina “Hurricane” Hango was born. What a journey this baby girl took.

    She was conceived in Equator during a volcano. Then Daddy Nelson lost his job. On New Year’s Eve they discovered they were expecting. Mommy Angela had several illnesses during her pregnancy. Then, Daddy Nelson got a new job with a baby on its’ way. The journey turned treacherous again when Angela went into labor during the height of Hurricane Irene. Nelson was turned back on three different routes. With Angela screaming, he called an ambulance. The ambulance could not make it either, so they called the SWAT vehicle. Meanwhile, Dr. Kabakibi was having his own difficulties trying to get to Meadowlands Hospital.

    The story and the hurricane ended at 2:05pm when Audrina was born. Mom, Dad and baby make a beautiful new family. There were many happy tears among the staff and the Hangos, who reside in Union City.

    The owners and Administration are BUSTING with pride over their staff. They watched their staff give endlessly, hour after hour after hour.  Were they dead tired? Sure. Were they wet, sweaty and in need of soap and water? Yup. Did they enjoy helping the patients and making a difference? The proof was their huge smiles! At the end of the day, MHMC stayed open, saved three lives, and can proudly say they delivered above and beyond what anyone would expect in a hurricane.

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