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California wildfires hit close to home; our caregivers respond

The wildfires in Sonoma, Napa and Orange Counties have been devastating and utterly heartbreaking for our communities in California. On behalf of the entire Providence St. Joseph Health family, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the caregivers who serve in our impacted ministries and who continue to care for patients even as they face their own personal uncertainty about their families, neighbors and property. Their dedication is nothing short of heroic. Thanks to their courageous efforts, our ministries in Northern and Southern California continue to operate and serve as a resource for people in desperate need of medical attention in these unbelievably trying circumstances.

 

Providence St. Joseph Health is a diverse family of not-for-profit health care organizations that serves the Western United States. Many of our communities – including those in California, Montana, Oregon and Washington – have been ravaged for months by one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. Yet, our caregivers continue to report to duty to ensure they can be there for neighbors in need. In addition, our teams have been raising money for Red Cross wildfire relief efforts, which Providence St. Joseph Health has matched dollar for dollar. The generosity of people across our family of organizations is inspiring - an example of our core values of caring and compassion in action. We will share additional opportunities to support our impacted caregivers in the coming days.

Please join us in holding everyone in the affected communities in our hearts. Providence St. Joseph Health will continue to provide whatever support is needed to our hospitals and clinics so they can continue serving our patients and the victims of these massive fires.

Update on our impacted communities as of Oct. 9

Providence St. Joseph Health hospitals in Sonoma, Napa and Orange counties remain fully operational and have been treating individuals requiring medical care as a result of wildfires across the state. Our organization is coordinating with first responders and health officials and we are doing everything we can to assist people who have been affected by the fires.

In Northern California, patients have been treated at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Queen of the Valley Medical Center and Petaluma Valley Hospital. 

  • Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department has treated approximately 90 individuals as a result of the wildfires. A total of 12 of these patients presented with burns from the fires.  Five were treated and released; three remain in our care in the ICU and med-surgery units; four patients were transferred to burn centers.  The majority of injuries continue to be related to smoke inhalation. 
  • Early this morning Santa Rosa Memorial also accepted evacuees from our neighboring hospitals - including six transfers from Kaiser Santa Rosa and six transfers from Sutter Medical Center. Patients transferred from Sutter included expectant mothers in active labor and newborns.
  • Queen of the Valley has treated approximately 50 patients, largely due to smoke-inhalation and minor injuries related to the fire.  The medical center has transferred one patient with significant burns to a burn center. 
  • Petaluma Valley Hospital has cared for approximately 28 patients in its emergency department.  The majority of these patients were treated and released with mild to moderate injuries secondary to fire, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, asthma, and smoke inhalation. Four of these individuals were admitted to monitor their injuries and four patients were in active labor.  There have been no patients with burns at Petaluma Valley Hospital.
  • Several of our Heritage clinics in Southern California are located in evacuated areas and have been closed as part of the evacuation. 

Our communities have faced immense trauma in recent weeks, with natural disasters and acts of violence affecting so many people across the country. Providence St. Joseph Health caregivers will continue to provide the best physical and spiritual care that we can to those in need. 

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Rod Hochman, M.D.

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