Redding Medical Staff Scrambling to Provide Care

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A large pyrocumulus cloud (or cloud of fire) explodes outward during the Carr fire near Redding, California on July 27, 2018. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Medical staff near Redding have been scrambling to provide necessary care, some while dealing with the mandatory evacuations of their own homes in the face of the explosive Carr Fire.

Shasta Community Health Center supports Shasta County at its six locations. But Chief Operations Officer Brandon Thornock says last Friday alone, dozens of employees were unable to come to work. Still, he says, enough employees showed up that the health center can staff two facilities: their medical center in Anderson and a consolidated team of medical professionals operating out of Redding.

Some of their physicians and staff have also been sent to the evacuation center established at Shasta College to help fire evacuees with anxiety and smoke inhalation problems.

At Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center, one of the most sensitive operations was the transfer of six babies from the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, says Mike Mangas, a communications manager for the hospital. It can take three to four hours to prepare the babies to move.

Five babies were taken to the UC Davis Medical Center, while a sixth was transferred to Mercy San Juan. All arrived in good health and Mangas says they're doing well.


In addition, he says Mercy has seen several burn and smoke-related injuries, including 3 firefighters, but none were serious and all have now been discharged.

The hospital is ready to remove additional patients if needed, but Mangas noted that a shift this week in the direction of the active front of the fire might spare them more damage.

"We had people who work at the hospital who lost their homes," Mangas says, "but many of them still showed up for work."

The Carr Fire has burned more than 112,000 acres, destroyed more than 900 homes, and is still just 30 percent contained. Fire officials are beginning to allow residents back in some areas, while continuing mandatory evacuations in others.