Residents in the small borough of Gilberton, northern Schuylkill County, continue to clean up, move forward and recover from recent, devastating flooding. To help ensure their safety in the recovery work, Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill offered preventative medical care to community members at a local fire hall.
About 60 residents and first responders took advantage of free tetanus shots provided by LVH–Schuylkill. During flood cleanup and rescue, the risk for cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds and other injuries increases significantly due to dangers
hidden in flood waters or from debris left behind. This can result in exposure to the tetanus bacteria (Clostridium tetani), which can lead to a serious infection if you are not vaccinated against tetanus.
Those turning out seemed grateful for a break from the sound of pumping machines and heavy equipment.
One resident summed up the experience quite profoundly, noting he wasn’t sure what address to write down on his consent form. “I have no home,” he said. His was one of the homes destroyed in the flood. Other attendees talked about the massive cleanup, appointments with adjustors and contractors, all in an effort to return to their homes.
A group of nine volunteers from LVH–Schuylkill, including five registered nurses, were on-site to greet the flood victims, offer a friendly voice during a tough time and lend a helping hand. In addition to the tetanus vaccinations, LVH–Schuylkill colleagues distributed hand sanitizer, mini first-aid kits, water bottles and other items.
LVH–Schuylkill President William “Bill” Reppy was among the volunteers participating. “We talk about being a partner in health care, but we want to be an active partner in your health care,” Reppy says. “It’s vitally important to be a resource and we’re happy to provide these vaccines at no charge.”
Two years ago, during heavy flooding in Tremont and Port Carbon, LVH–Schuylkill also offered similar support.
Find more inspiring stories from the front lines and beyond at LVHN.org/COVIDSTRONG.