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PMH suffers lightning strike, minimal damage

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer
In the early morning hours of June 5, during a particularly severe thunderstorm, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital suffered damage from a lightning strike, resulting in loss of communications and other capabilities needed by the staff.

PMH public relations and special projects coordinator Susan Wilkins said the staff reacted swiftly and efficiently to return the hospital to regular operations as quickly as possible.

“At 12:34 a.m. on Friday, we called the Pocahontas 911 center to notify them of our disabled communications and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) capabilities due to a lightning strike,” Wilkins said. “Following the Diversion Report and after senior administration discussion, it was decided to place the hospital on ‘yellow diversion due to difficulties with essential services, mainly communication and radiology interpretations.’”

“This meant that any potential incoming emergency patients were to be diverted to Elkins or Lewisburg if it was not more than an additional thirty minute transport,” she continued. “Other patients were to continue to PMH.”

PMH Information Technology team Sam Walker and Kevin Roy worked through the night and by approximately 5 a.m., phone service was restored and by 7 a.m., the remaining services were operational and the diversion directive was halted.

“We really appreciate the work of our amazing IT guys in working all night to get our hospital back up and fully operational,” Wilkins said.

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