Hilton Head Hospital and Coastal Carolina Hospital both saw an uptick in the number of patients checking into emergency departments after sleet, freezing rain and 4.5 inches of snow fell Wednesday in Beaufort County, causing risky conditions for Lowcountry residents not used to navigating winter weather.
Some patients were taken to the hospital after vehicle collisions on slick roads — the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office responded to 86 wrecks between Wednesday and Thursday morning — while others headed to the hospital after slipping and falling on icy ground, said Lydia Hill, public relations and marketing director at Hilton Head Hospital. Patients suffered some fractures and broken bones, she said.
Beaufort Memorial Hospital also saw an increase in the number of patients who hurt themselves after slipping and falling, said Kevin Kremer, emergency department director at the hospital.
In addition, Beaufort Memorial also experienced an uptick in patients with chronic conditions who needed medical services such as dialysis or chemotherapy because their private clinics were closed, Kremer said.
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Beaufort Memorial saw a slight dip in emergency room visits Wednesday and Thursday overall, though.
As of Thursday afternoon, none of the hospitals had exact statistics for the number of patients admitted to the emergency room as severe winter weather pounded the Lowcountry.
Spokespeople for all hospitals advised Beaufort County residents to stay home if possible.
“If you are outside, be very careful walking around,” Hill said. “Although it may look like snow, there’s probably ice under it.”