October 2, 2017:
As Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida the weekend of September 8, the LifeQuest team activated its disaster plan in order to keep business running as normally as possible.
Our dual focus was the safety of our employees and their families, as well as the individuals who may be referred as potential donors, as we have an obligation to honor their decisions to become life-saving donors.
Staff in the path of the storm who did not need to be in the office were encouraged to work from home, and staff assigned to respond to the hospitals’ referrals were asked to do as much as possible over the phone. As with previous hurricanes, we communicated well with the unit staff in our partner hospitals in “the cone” – from Jacksonville to Tallahassee – where there were potential organ donors.
In spite of staff losing power and water one-by-one, and some evacuating out of flood-prone zones, our administrative-on-call team still triaged all of the referral calls, and the rest of our teams stayed in touch with each other to ensure everyone was accounted for and safe.
As the storm was intensifying, we had an authorized donor in case one of our critical care units. This individual’s family graciously agreed to allow our staff extra time and delay the case until air and ground travel was safe for transplant programs and their recipients. The family, nursing staff and attending physician could not have been more supportive of our process and needs.
It truly is a blessing to have such a dedicated and committed team as the employees at LifeQuest, who never fail to put the mission of saving lives first.