CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Hurricane Ian has decimated health care clinics and left hospitals crippled in Southwest Florida.
Samaritan Health and Wellness along Cape Coral Parkway in Cape Coral sees over 10,000 uninsured and underinsured patients. Dr. Sue Hook founded and runs the facility and discovered it destroyed by Ian.
The roof on top of the facility has been completely peeled off and is now lying in a parking lot behind the building.
Despite the loss, Dr. Hook said her thoughts with all of the people who lost homes and even loved ones.
“You think about all of the people that their houses are gone…they don’t know if their families are alive. This is just a thing,” Dr. Hook said.
Walking through the building, she discovered her equipment, rooms and everything was destroyed by the water that came into the building.
Her clinic was preparing to celebrate eight years in operation.
“We started with two people working here …now we have 11 people and we started with 40 patients and now we have over 10,000,” Hook stated.
However, she no longer has a facility to see those patients, but during her walk-through, she had a revelation.
“It was like a bible verse came to me that said if a light shines in the darkness …the darkness does not overcome it and that’s what we’re doing,” Hook said with inspiration.
She and her staff are making plans to overcome the damage.
“What we would like to do is set up some tents Monday in our parking lot,” she said.
That plan is similar to what Lee Health is doing at the Cape Coral hospital. Dozens of people were standing in line outside to be triaged inside one of tents set up in front of the emergency room.
“We are still moving patients out of our system but remember we still have patients coming in because all of our emergency departments are open, our emergency departments will stay open, so as a result, there’s that balance,” said Lee Health CEO Larry Antonucci.
Millennium patients can call 844-225-5674 to be connected with a doctor who can give them care by phone or telehealth.
Dr. Sue Hook offered this reminder to her patients.
“We just want our patients to know we love them and we’re not giving up. This is just a setback,” Hook stated.