Executive Briefings

Wildfires Stressed Wine Country's Healthcare Supply Chain, Creating a Crisis and a Warning for Future

Dr. Scott Witt kept close behind the ambulance carrying the newborns. On his motorcycle, he drove over and ducked under downed power lines. He swerved around embers blowing onto the highway.

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, where Witt oversees the neonatal intensive care unit, was being evacuated Oct. 9 because of wildfires that would become the deadliest in California history.

But Witt couldn't call the doctors who would be caring for the babies because there was no power. The physicians at the other hospital also had no way of accessing Witt's medical records online to know what treatment was needed.

“I knew if I didn’t leave then, there would be no way I could take care of the babies,” he said.

As the blaze grew feet away, Witt tailed the ambulance through smoke and debris.

The Northern California wildfires created what some described as an unprecedented healthcare crisis that has served as a wake-up call in the region. Not only were two major hospitals evacuated hours into the disaster, but the chaos continued for days after.

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Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, where Witt oversees the neonatal intensive care unit, was being evacuated Oct. 9 because of wildfires that would become the deadliest in California history.

But Witt couldn't call the doctors who would be caring for the babies because there was no power. The physicians at the other hospital also had no way of accessing Witt's medical records online to know what treatment was needed.

“I knew if I didn’t leave then, there would be no way I could take care of the babies,” he said.

As the blaze grew feet away, Witt tailed the ambulance through smoke and debris.

The Northern California wildfires created what some described as an unprecedented healthcare crisis that has served as a wake-up call in the region. Not only were two major hospitals evacuated hours into the disaster, but the chaos continued for days after.

Read Full Article