RNs - Louisiana

Dozens found dead at New Orleans hospital

Adam Nossiter, Associated Press, September 12, 2005

New Orleans - The bodies of more than 40 mostly elderly patients were found in a flooded-out hospital in the biggest known cluster of corpses to be discovered so far in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

The exact circumstances under which they died were unclear, with at least one hospital official saying Monday at least a few of the patients were dead before the storm, and another saying the rising temperature in the hospital afterward likely contributed to some of the deaths. ... Dozens

Practicing Medicine in the Dark, on the Edge

Perri Klass, MD, New York Times, September 6, 2005

They're heroes, all of them, the doctors and nurses taking care of patients in the hurricane zone, the ones you read about in the newspapers, ventilating the intensive care unit patients by bag and mask when the generator fails, or binding up wounds by flashlight.

It's a very particular kind of heroism - doing what you were trained to do, but doing it under circumstances where you are pitting your standard professional skills against unimaginable disaster. ... Practicing

Evacuations complete at troubled New Orleans hospitals

Associated Press, September 3, 2005

Two of New Orleans’ most troubled hospitals were evacuated late Friday after desperate doctors spent days making tough choices about which patients got dwindling supplies of food, water and medicines.

Rescuers finally made it into Charity and University hospitals and evacuated all remaining patients and staff.

“The last information I have is that all of the buildings are empty,” said Don Smithburg, head of the Louisiana State University hospital system.

About 2,200 people were evacuated, including 363 patients. Some were taken out on stretchers and others on piggyback. ... Evacuations

‘A Horrible Dream’

The inside story of how the staff of one New Orleans-area hospital heroically saved their patients and themselves.
Susanna Schrobsdorff, Newsweek, September 2, 2005

It’s been a sweltering, agonizing week for the 1,000 staff members at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., a suburb adjacent to New Orleans. They rode out Hurricane Katrina and its horrific aftermath without air conditioning, running water or toilets. Most haven’t slept more than a few hours since the morning of the storm, and many have lost their homes or family members. ... Horrible

Death in hospital hallway 'disgusting, unbelievable'

Singapore Press, September 5, 2005

For days, workers in New Orleans' Charity Hospital had tirelessly made their rounds through dark, sour-smelling hallways.

The hospital was surrounded by nearly 2.5m of water and the only way to reach it was by boat.

Gunshots by snipers on Thursday had prevented evacuation efforts.

The hospital's morgue had 12 bodies, and another five were stacked in a stairwell - in both cases under water. Two patients died on a ramp while waiting to be evacuated.

CNN's Dr Sanjay Gupta, who was one of the first to visit the hospital on Thursday, described the scene as 'disgusting'. ... Death

Navarre Beach nurse sees heroism amid horrors of New Orleans

Mark O'Brien, Pensacola News Journal, September 4, 2005

Tim Keohane made several visits to New Orleans last week, getting an up close look at the mayhem and misery after Hurricane Katrina.

Is it as bad as it looks on television?

"It's worse," Keohane said.

He's a flight nurse aboard a Sacred Heart Hospital helicopter ferrying supplies to Tulane Medical Center and then carrying patients to other hospitals. ... Navarre Beach

Health threats grow in New Orleans

Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press, September 1, 2005

As a public health catastrophe unfolded Wednesday in New Orleans, hospitals in the Crescent City sank further into disaster, airlifting babies without their parents to other states and struggling with more sick people appearing at their doors. ... The federal government declared a public health emergency for the Gulf Coast region, promising 40 medical centers with up to 10,000 beds and thousands of doctors and nurses for the hurricane-ravaged area. ... Health

New Orleans Engulfed in Public Health Emergency

Fox News, September 1, 2005

New Orleans - Engulfed by putrid floodwaters that are expected to linger for weeks, New Orleans is in the grip of a public health emergency that medical experts fear may grow even more dire.

The stagnant water covering 80 percent of the city is contaminated with human and animal corpses, human waste and raw sewage, posing the potential for outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis.

Sewers cannot operate until the floodwaters are pumped out of the city. ... New Orleans

10,000 Patients & Staff Members Await Evacuation From Barely Functional Hospitals

Reed Abelson & Alan Feuer, New York Times, September 1, 2005

It is daunting what the 600 patients and staff members trapped by a moat of filthy water inside Charity Hospital in New Orleans have been doing without.

The lights are down, which means that medication must be rushed through sodden hallways by flashlight after dark. The ventilators are down, which meant that, for a while, nurses had to pump the airbags of pulmonary cases by hand.

There are few phones. No x-ray machines. No CAT scans. No computers. No air-conditioners. ... 10,000

Hospital firms help to evacuate patients

Todd Pack, The Tennessean, September, 1, 2005 

HCA's evacuation of a storm-damaged hospital near the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans continued Thursday, one patient at a time.

With the city mostly flooded and under an evacuation order, the Nashville-based hospital chain leased about 20 helicopters to carry food, drugs and other supplies to Tulane University Hospital & Clinic and then shuttle patients to a company-owned hospital in Lafayette, La., about 135 miles away. ... Hospital

Letter from New Orleans: tragedy at stranded hospital

World Socialist Web Site, September 1, 2005

The World Socialist Web Site received the following email Wednesday describing the desperate situation facing patients and staff at a New Orleans hospital, cut off from the outside world amidst rising flood waters in the stricken city. The letter gives a sense of the plight of the city’s residents and the lack of organized aid from local, state or national authorities. ... Letter

Hurricane Katrina: The Patients

Thousands are stranded at hospitals
Judith Graham, Chicago Tribune, September 1, 2005

There are dead bodies downstairs at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center, maybe half a dozen. Dozens of critically ill patients lie on stretchers, some of them gasping for breath as relatives fan them with sheets of cardboard. People have been breaking windows to let in fresh air as temperatures inside the hospital rise above 110 degrees. ... This is the "lethally chaotic" scene described late Wednesday afternoon by William Quigley, a New Orleans law professor who rode out Hurricane Katrina at Memorial Medical with his wife, a cancer nurse at the facility. ... Hurricane

Katrina's Rising Toll

Online Becomes a Frail Lifeline for the Stranded.
Relatives, and a few victims themselves, post pleas for their loved ones to be rescued.
James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2005

An Atlanta doctor struggling to find help for his in-laws, who he last heard had been stranded with 300 others on the third floor of St. Augustine High School. A hospital visitor pleading for relief for 2,000 patients, doctors, nurses and others crammed into Memorial Medical Center with little food or water to spare. ... Katrina's

Local hospitals prepare for patients

Jonas Breaux, Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, August 31, 2005

On Tuesday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered the evacuation of Orleans Parish, which included thousands of hospital patients. As a result, Lafayette hospitals are preparing to help in the relocation of patients to Acadiana.

Birch Stelly, director of community relations at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, said the effort to move patients from the Crescent City is being coordinated through the state Office of Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge.

"The plan for Lourdes and other hospitals across the state is to let the Office of Emergency Preparedness know how many beds we have available and they will decide which patients go where," Stelly said.

Stelly said Lourdes is in line to accept 12 special-needs patients. As of Tuesday, however, only two patients had been admitted.

Jazz city medics battling 'flood of people'

Adam Nossiter, Sapa-AP, August 31, 2005

New Orleans - As floodwaters rose around Charity Hospital in New Orleans, the rescuers needed their own rescuing.

Charity's backup generator was running out of diesel fuel. Nurses hand-pumped ventilators for patients who could not breathe. Doctors canoed supplies in from three nearby hospitals.

"It's like being in a Third World country. We're trying to work without power. Everyone knows we're all in this together. We're just trying to stay alive," said Mitch Handrich, a registered nurse manager at the hospital - Louisiana's biggest. ... Jazz

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