Area hospitals prepare for 'Carmageddon 2'


For most people, Carmageddon 2 will just be an inconvenience, but for people who need hospital services, it could be a more serious problem. That's why local hospitals are already preparing.

People have differing opinions about the role Carmageddon 2 will play when it comes to hospitals and emergency services.

But behind the scenes at UCLA Medical Center, Disaster Resource Center Manager Kurt Kainsinger and others have been preparing for months.

"We're limiting visitation during that weekend to the patients that are in the hospital so that we can avoid traffic congestion in the area Kainsinger. "We're also modifying our surgery schedules and clinic schedules for Monday morning especially, in case there are issues with getting the freeway reopened."

They're even early-admitting high-risk patients, like pregnant women, so if anything happens during the weekend of the freeway closure, they will already be in-house. And so will potentially 250 staff members who will get accommodations in local hotels and an on-campus guest house.

Staff who live locally are encouraged to come in and work three consecutive shifts. They will even be making rounds to see if they can discharge any patients early.

"We want to reinforce the message out to the community that if you have a medical emergency, call 911. Don't try to get in the car and drive to the hospital," said Kainsinger. "The last thing we want is for somebody with a serious medical condition to be stuck on the road in traffic."

Other hospitals in the Southland have contingency plans too. While Northridge Hospital Medical Center doesn't have a Carmageddon-specific plan, it does have a long list of doctors and nurses to call in case of emergency.

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