'If It Was One, It Was Worth It' Patient Transfer Coordinator Says

Hospital patients in the Virgin Islands have been brought to Columbia. News19's Lana Harris reports.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The U.S. Virgin Islands are still trying to recover from the devastation left by the hurricanes, and the midlands is trying to help out.

"We received an aircraft load of patients," said Federal Coordination Center (FCC) Coordinator Carleton Bailiff.

Patients from hospitals in St. Croix flew in to Columbia Metropolitan Airport through a joint effort of over a dozen agencies, including the FCC and the National Disaster Medical System.

"Those patients were those of medical need that it was a necessity to move them out of that area," Bailiff said.

Even though the Caribbean was beaten down, Bailiff says they seemed to be keeping their morale up.

"From what I could tell the patients were in good spirits," Bailiff said. "They were just ready to move on to the next level of care."

To speed up the process, Bailiff says the aircraft was allowed to come straight from the Virgin Islands and U.S. Customs came to check their documents from the plane.

"Before, in some aircrafts they would have to go and stop in Florida, that would incur another two hour delay," Bailiff said.

Bailiff says there weren't a lot of people on this plane.

"Not a complete full aircraft, about five patients," Bailiff said.

Still, he says it was more than enough to be proud of.

"If it was one, it was worth it," Bailiff said. "And I'm absolutely proud of the effort we've put out."

Bailiff says they expect to keep the effort running for another two days, but will stay open as long as needed.

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