Tag Archives: Issues

Putting a Hospital in a Tsunami Zone.

Does anyone see the problem? Anyone?


So there’s a hospital that lives in the tsunami zone of Gold Beach, Curry County, Oregon. There was a general consensus that the old hospital needed to go; it’s old, run down, ect. The voters of Curry County voted in a bond measure to rebuild the hospital. Well, yeah, that’s a good idea. It’s already in the tsunami zone, and now it can be rebuilt! I think most people assumed that it was terribly obvious that it would be moved somewhere that made more sense.

Someone asked, apparently too little too late [Note: These are not actual quotes said by anyone.] – “Hey guys, where’s the new hospital going to go?” and they said “Oh. Yeah – we’re just going to use the old parking lot!” to which anyone with common sense said “But you’re in a tsunami zone. You knew you were in a tsunami zone before you decided to make a new hospital, why would you put in the same spot? Please don’t do this.” and the hospital people said “No, this is fine.”

Except, you know, it’s not. Did Japan teach us nothing? I really thought that would be a great learning experience, but I guess people really like to take the “It won’t happen to us” stance.

In their (very small) defense, the Oregon Public Broadcasting created a short video explaining why they chose to stay in the same location:

“Local officials say they don’t have many good options.”
So…that means they still had options. In my opinion, as soon as the new hospital is erected and operational, those officials should be held responsible for any tsunami related incidents that cause harm to their staff or patients. They knew the risks, and they built it anyway. This hospital is expected to be completed this year, by the way.

Not only have they now put the  hospital staff and its patients in danger, they have arguably now given any possible survivors very little chance of getting medical help during a tsunami emergency. It’s probably really hard to help people if the hospital got wiped out.

What else is really disappointing is that the hospital website, even knowing they are in a tsunami zone, have no escape route or plan mapped out on their website. How would a visiting family know where to find a patient if they were evacuated?

Apparently, the hospital is going to be one of the first to built “with any consideration of a tsunami impact”. Whatever that means…

All I can say is I wish them the best of luck during a disaster. This is very disappointing news.