Area hospitals wear white well

    Hospitals across the Philadelphia region are open despite the winter storms.. Many elective surgeries and visits to satellite doctors offices were cancelled today. But in general, hospital workers are in place and providing both routine and emergency care.

    Albert Black is chief operating officer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Penn is coordinating transportation for workers who need it.

    Black: We have GPSs on our four-wheel drive vehicles, if people are able to get to the regional rails, or the subway system or Frankfort elevated system, we ask that they get to 30th Street Station, and we are running a continuous shuttle back and forth from that location.

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    Other hospitals say they are also relying heavily on SEPTA.

    Penn converted chemotherapy suites and extra exam rooms into temporary sleeping quarters. More than 200 staffers bunked at HUP last night.

    Nurses often work 12 hours shifts. Black says many who clocked out at 7 this morning are resting up in the temporary accommodations — and will return to duty at 7 tonight.

    Ambulances are making their way through the snow to get critical patients to local emergency rooms. But ERs across the region say they are experiencing a brief lull today because walk-in patients with less serious concerns are staying close to home.

    Registered nurse Ryan Miller is part of the winter storm team keeping things running at New Jersey’s Cooper University Hospital.

    Miller: We haven’t seen any of those chest pains related to people shoveling snow. We haven’t seen frost bite or cold emergencies. We’ve only really been seeing the acutely sick patients. The patients who really need to be here because they can’t stay home anymore.

    Miller says he’s bracing for more business on Thursday as the snow becomes more manageable and more people begin to venture out.

    During the last heavy snow, Cooper treated many patients for slip and falls and lots of wrist and ankle fractures.

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