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By Kristen Johanson

By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With road closures and traffic restrictions in place during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, hospitals have been finalizing their plans for the weekend of September 26th and 27th.

The Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania has been working with the city, since the beginning of the planning process.
Regional Manager of Emergency Preparedness Mark Ross says expectant mothers who need to get to a hospital, will likely have a choice.

“We want those patients to go to the facility of their choice: the one they have done their prenatal care at, the one where they are used to their doctors. And we will make every attempt to make sure that that occurs for those patients,” said Ross.

“We will get them to their facilities, so that they feel comfortable with the doctors, the nurses, the staff, that they have been doing all their care with.”

And if there is concern about whether the mother and child can stay an extra day, because of traffic restrictions?

“If it makes sense to keep that patient for travel issues, if it makes sense to keep that patient an additional day, so that they can get home safely, without interruption, and not be tied up, than if that’s something we need to do for the best interest of our patients, then that is something we will absolutely consider. We’ll have real time input from the emergency operation center in Philadelphia. We’ll know what the traffic and other issues will look like. So these facilities will know that knowledge, in order to make educated, great decisions for them and their families.”

But, he says, elective and non-emergency surgeries will likely be rescheduled.

“Our facilities conduct elective surgeries, non-emergency surgeries on a regular basis, most of them occur during the week,” he said, but if they fall on a weekend, “We may reschedule to the following week, or a couple days before.”

He says, organ transplant patients should be reassured that they will be taken care of if an organ becomes available.

“This is something that we know occurs on a fairly regular basis in this region and we have included that in our plannings, and we will make sure that is not impacted,” he said. “We are working with those agencies, to make sure they have access to those facilities, to be able to conduct these transplants, to get these patients in and out.”

And, if you have an emergency?

“The emergency services in the city are going to function in Philadelphia like any other day. If you have an emergency, you are going to call 9-1-1.”

If you have any questions about what the plan is for your hospital, or your doctor, you should contact them as soon as possible.

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