CHA News Article

Napa Area Hospitals Well Prepared for Earthquake

On Aug. 24 at 3:20 am, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake occurred on the West Napa Fault, approximately nine miles from Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa. The medical and health mutual aid system was activated, 100 suture kits were requested, and the resource request was promptly filled. With a triage tent set up to screen and treat patients as they arrived, the hospital triaged and treated approximately 200 patients with earthquake-related injuries. Twelve of the patients were admitted to the hospital because of their injuries; two were in critical condition.

Immediately following the earthquake, Steven Herber, MD, CEO of St. Helena Hospital Napa Valley, served as his hospital’s incident commander and collaborated with Queen of the Valley’s COO Vincent Morgese, MD, in the event they needed to assist each other. Responding to CHA’s inquiry about the event, Dr. Herber emphasized the importance of disaster drills and hospitals working together alongside state and local agencies in the best interest of the community.

At St. Helena Hospital Napa Valley, there was also a small increase in Emergency Department patients. The hospital experienced some water problems but was able to maintain operations via its backup water supply.

Queen of the Valley is well on its way to complying with seismic safety requirements. As a result, the majority of damage it sustained from the earthquake occurred in two SPC-1 buildings that will not house any inpatient services after Dec. 31. While there was some non-structural damage, it did not interfere with triaging or treating patients.

Walt Mickens, president/CEO of Queen of the Valley, commended the hospital team and first responders for a successful response.  “Their efforts today have been tireless, selfless and extraordinary.  We are privileged to have such an amazing team in our community,” Mickens said.