Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, Deploys Air Care Team to Transfer Lee Memorial Patients Following Hurricane Ian Disaster

Hospital in area most impacted by the storm is partnering with Orlando-based system to ensure continued care for patients

St. Petersburg, FL (September 30, 2022) – The Orlando Health healthcare system is admitting nearly 30 patients from Lee Health in Lee County, one of the hospital systems that was most impacted by Hurricane Ian. Approximately half of the patients being transferred to Orlando Health facilities, including Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, require ICU-level care. In addition to adult patients, several newborns are being admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.

“Devastating events like this require a collective approach to provide help where it’s needed most. Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, and the entire Orlando Health system, are proud to help our fellow medical providers in Southwest Florida as they recover from Hurricane Ian,” said John Moore, president, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. “Our team is ready to provide the excellent care that Bay-area and Central Florida residents have come to expect from our healthcare system. Our primary goal is to ensure that these patients receive the best care possible,” said Moore.

Hundreds of patient transfers are being initiated after damage from the storm impacted the power and water pressure of several Southwest Florida hospitals. Adequate water pressure and power are essential for hospitals to provide patient care and properly operate coolant systems. Transferring patients to hospital systems less impacted by the storm prevents life-threatening interruptions to patient care.

Several of the transfers are being facilitated by the Orlando Health Air Care Team. The hospital-based, multiple aircraft flight program is designed to respond to incidents on-scene and provide hospital transfers across an 11-county region.

Since it began in 1984, the Orlando Health flight program has safely transported more than 40,000 patients. The flight program has four helicopters, including the only Lake County-based emergency medical helicopter at Leesburg International Airport. The Air Care Team is part of Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, which is one of 10 Level One trauma centers in the state and the only Level One  trauma center in Area 8 (Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Sumter Counties). The Orlando Health Air Care Team provides high-level care to patients while providing rapid air medical transport to the most appropriate hospital.

The need for patient transfers from Fort Myers and surrounding areas is expected to continue following the record-making hurricane. Patients are being transported to hospitals throughout the Orlando Health hospital system based on their individual medical needs.


About Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

The 480-bed Bayfront Health St. Petersburg was founded in 1910. It was acquired October 1, 2020 by Orlando Health, a not-for-profit healthcare organization with $8 billion of assets under management. The hospital’s areas of clinical excellence include heart and vascular, surgical services, rehabilitation services, neurosciences, maternity care and – as home to the only state-accredited Level Two Adult Trauma Center in the St. Petersburg region – emergency services and trauma care.

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is integral to the 3,200-bed Orlando Health system which serves the southeastern United States through 10 award-winning hospitals, 9 hospital based ERs, including Central Florida’s only Level I Trauma Center, and 7 free-standing emergency rooms; rehabilitation services, cancer and heart institutes, imaging and laboratory services, wound care centers, physician offices for adults and pediatrics, skilled nursing facilities, an in-patient behavioral health facility, home healthcare services in partnership with LHC Group, and urgent care centers in partnership with FastMed Urgent Care. More than 4,200 physicians, representing more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties have privileges across the system, which employs more than 23,000 team members.

Orlando Health’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program hosts more than 350 residents and fellows including more than 40 who are enrolled at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg’s OB/GYN, Family Medicine, Sports Medicine and Pharmacy programs.

In FY21, Orlando Health served more than 160,000 inpatients and 3.6 million outpatients. During that same time period, Orlando Health provided approximately ­­­$648 million in total value to the communities it serves in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at or follow us on LinkedInFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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