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Water damage, gutted halls | Lady of the Sea Hospital still closed 7 months after Ida

Collins says Hurricane Ida left the hospital in need of its own emergency care. The storm peeled part of the roof off, destroying much of the inside.

LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. — In Southern Lafourche parish, getting to a hospital can come with added challenges thanks to what Hurricane Ida did to the community’s medical services.  

Lady of the Sea General Hospital in Cut Off is the only hospital within about 30 minutes and in some of the areas this hospital serves, it’ll take you an hour before you get to the next hospital.   

A big sign in front of the hospital’s main building reads, “Building Closed.” 

“They just have metal studs in the building because of the water damage so at this point, it’s completely gutted,” said hospital CEO Karen Collins. “Essentially, it’s a shell.” 

Collins says Hurricane Ida left the hospital in need of its own emergency care. The storm peeled part of the roof off, destroying much of the inside. The damage was so extensive, the hospital could no longer serve its community.  

“A hospital is a lifeline for the community. People rely on it,” said Collins.  

Emergency and outpatient services returned quickly, but more than seven months later, still no inpatient care, which means people in need of a hospital are transferred. 

“It is difficult for families because they have to travel when their family members are hospitalized elsewhere,” said Collins. “That’s why it’s so important for us to get the services back up and running here.” 

That’s why Collins says an interim inpatient facility is crucial to meet the need.  

“It’s 28,000 square feet. It will cover this entire area,” said Collins pointing to a grassy area where the hospital’s helipad currently is.  

The planned facility will include 18 beds and a radiology department. The hope is for it to be operational by the end of the year.  

“Medical care is extremely important. Our local hospital is all we have,” said Amber Martinez who lives next to the hospital.  

Martinez’s scheduled MRI last Fall got by canceled by Hurricane Ida.  

“I had to go to Kenner actually to get it done,” said Martinez. 

Now living in a camper outside her damaged home, Martinez says the last seven months have been tough and having something like inpatient care next door is a sense of relief.  

“That way we won’t have to be transferred out,” said Martinez. “We can stay in our hometown to get care from our doctors that we know, the doctors that we see.”  

Getting the main hospital building up and running won’t be easy and will take time.  

“We’re still looking a two to three years before the permanent facility is in place,” said Collins. 

With all the damage on the inside of the main building, there’s no decision yet on whether it will be torn down and rebuilt or just renovated. That is going to come down to cost.  

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