Beaufort Memorial Prepares to Shelter in Place During Hurricane Irma

BEAUFORT, SC – Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) has received a waiver to “shelter in place” during the passage of Hurricane Irma, allowing the hospital to keep its emergency room open and critical personnel to stay in the hospital and prepare to care for remaining patients.


Governor Henry McMaster upheld the mandatory medical evacuation for BMH, which transferred or discharged a majority of its patients following the Thursday afternoon announcement.


Nineteen remaining patients will be cared for in the hospital, which is staffed with clinical and support personnel, as well as with security officers. Transferred patients will be cleared to return as soon as county officials deem the area is safe and the hospital is prepared to receive them.


“This waiver means that the staff who volunteered to stay in the event of an evacuation will shelter in the hospital and care for the patients who will remain with us,” Chief Nursing Officer Karen Carroll said. “This does not mean we can admit new patients or resume business as usual.”


While the hospital emergency room will remain open until as late as Sunday morning, the staff is not equipped to admit new patients to the hospital. Transfer agreements will remain in place and new patients will be sent to outlying receiving hospitals, as appropriate. 


President and CEO Russell Baxley emphasized the importance of local residents’ heeding evacuation recommendations and making plans to keep themselves safe.


“A hospital waiver is granted based on the emergency preparations the hospital has put into place to care for the patients and staff sheltering in the hospital when the application is granted,” he said. “It does not allow us to take on additional patients or to operate at more than a basic emergency level.”  


Emergency and OB patients should present themselves to the Emergency Room for evaluation. All other hospital entrances will be closed until further notice.


Updates will be made available on the hospital’s website at






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