Hurricane Ian rips part of roof off Florida hospital

An HCA Healthcare hospital closed and transferred patients after losing a layer of roofing in high winds. Hospitals and nursing homes across Florida evacuated patients.

An HCA Healthcare hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida has temporarily closed and transferred patients after losing part of its roofing in Hurricane Ian.

The HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital located in Port Charlotte is suspending services until further notice, HCA Florida Healthcare said in a news release Thursday. About 160 patients were transferred.

“The hospital lost a layer of its roofing to sustained high winds during the storm, which caused water leaks that impacted areas of the building,” HCA Florida said.

Fawcett Hospital transferred the facility’s most seriously ill patients before Ian made landfall, HCA Florida said Thursday.

Water rained down into the intensive care unit due to losing part of the roof, while storm surge led to flooding in a lower level emergency room Wednesday, CBS News reported. Dr. Birgit Bodine told CBS News that staff expected a challenging time from the storm "but we didn't anticipate that the roof would blow off on the fourth floor.”

The hospital has four floors, and patients were concentrated on two floors, Bodine told CBS News.

In an interview with CNN, Bodine said, “Everybody’s doing good and actually, surprisingly, in decent spirits.” Bodine described how staff moved everyone out of the ICU.

HCA Florida said it has reached out to try and contact family members of patients and set up a hotline for loved ones to check on patients (844-482-4821). HCA said it is also offering financial aid to staff affected by the storm.

Some Florida hospitals, especially on the state’s west coast, transferred patients ahead of Ian’s arrival. Hospitals closed facilities, postponed surgeries, and suspended some services due to Ian, which caused catastrophic damage in parts of Florida.

Across the state, 15 hospitals transferred patients due to the hurricane, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

The Florida Health Care Association said 43 nursing homes evacuated about 3,400 residents as of Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Emergency crews were still working late Thursday to help evacuate residents in assisted living facilities in Orange County, which includes Orlando.

HCA Florida Englewood Hospital is closed and is transferring patients. HCA has also temporarily shut down some emergency services in the Tampa area.

BayCare, which operates several hospitals in Florida, said Thursday that Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is closed, along with ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient centers, and urgent care centers in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

BayCare said its hospitals in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk Counties are open, but elective procedures are suspended. BayCare is also offering patients one free telehealth visit through Oct. 12.

Tampa General Hospital stayed open through the storm, although some care locations were closed. Tampa is reopening most urgent care and outpatient rehabilitation centers Friday, although some remain closed.

AdventHealth also operates a host of hospitals in Florida, closed medical group offices Wednesday and Thursday and also paused some home visits.

Ian regained Hurricane strength after crossing Florida and reaching the Atlantic, and is expected to hit the Carolinas Friday. A hurricane warning has been issued along the coast of South Carolina and a part of North Carolina.