Tarrant County Medical Society Swings into Action for Katrina

This just in:

Message from TCMS President Gary W. Floyd,
MD

——————————————————————————————————–

Donate Sample Medications for Hurricane Katrina
refugees

Fort Worth, Arlington, Tarrant County and other local
emergency organizations are partnering to provide sheltering assistance to
refugees. Both the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County have declared a local
state of emergency to allow local authorities to provide any and all assistance
needed.

At this point, several shelters have been established in Tarrant
County and there will be a great need for medications of all kind.

The
Tarrant Count Public Health Department is collecting sample medications to
distribute to refugees.

Physicians’ office can drop off sample
medications to:

Tarrant County Public Health Department
1101 S. Main
St
Fort Worth, TX 76104
(at the corner of Rosedale & Main)

That’s a good idea, but will be a drop in the bucket of what’s needed.  However, this is probably a very good short-term solution.  Since I work in an ED, I don’t have any samples.

CNN.com – Evacuations resume at flooded hospital – Sep 2, 2005

They’re still evacuating hospitals in New Orleans, and many hope to get the staff out today.  I don’t know how they’ll be able to go back without a massive cleanup operation.   CNN.com – Evacuations resume at flooded hospital – Sep 2, 2005.

TMA: No docs being sent into Louisiana

Just got this from the Texas Medical Association This color is my emphasis:

Deployment Status:   TMA has not received an
official notice to deploy volunteers to Louisiana.
We appreciate your
willingness to help and ask for your patience at this time. If you have
contacted TMA to volunteer, you are in our volunteer database. You will be
contacted as soon as we are notified. (See Next Steps.)

Overwhelming Response:   Wednesday, Aug. 31,
Gov. Rick Perry asked the Texas Medical Association to solicit 200 physician
volunteers to assist Louisiana with their medical needs. As a result of that
request, TMA has received more than 1,500 responses from physicians, residents,
and medical student volunteers. And more calls are coming in by the minute.

Our initial announcement requesting volunteers was stated
exactly as provided to us by the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management.
That notice listed only six specific specialties. However, TMA sent a notice to
all specialties in our e-mail database. We anticipated additional skills and
expertise would be needed. The response from our physician members has been
overwhelming and heartwarming. The rescue shelters established in Texas? major
cities are in desperate need of primary care physicians.

Next Steps:   The State Operations Center has
been told that additional physicians (except for mental health professionals)
are not needed in Louisiana.
Hospitals in New Orleans have been evacuated.
Physicians displaced from New Orleans are being dispersed throughout the state
and are helping with immediate relief efforts. State and federal officials will
not deploy any volunteers into Louisiana until your safety can be guaranteed…

From what I’ve seen on TV this makes the most sense: with no infrastructure there’s no need to add to the disaster.  Let’s evacuate everyone out of the area and fix the problems out of the disaster zone.

New Orleans Patients arrive in Fort Worth

I worked an afternoon shift in my ED today, and the buzz was all about the New Orleans transfers we’d received, and continued to receive.

Our joint got about 12 that I’m aware of, with a very high percentage being dialysis patients and in need of that service.  It was entirely appropriate that they were sent to us, as we’re one of a few hospitals in the area with inpatient dialysis services available.  Our nephrologists didn’t bat an eye, and worked hard to get them taken care of.

The patients were flown into the JRC Fort Worth (used to be Carswell AFB), and then a team from the county hospital and the county EMS director started divvying them up.

The patients I cared for showed what you’d expect in a debilitated, chronically ill person with no adequate sanitation for 3 days.  All but one showed up with their inpatient hospital chart (in the binder), and one had not just that but prior charts dating back several years!

The staff, who would gripe even if struck with a new stick, were quite remarkably compassionate and there were no harsh statements made about the sending facilities’ care.

Another flight was due in this evening, but I left before that batch of patients arrived. 

A moment of levity in all this: one patient, evacuated with just a gown and a chart arrived with a bottle in hand: a bottle of Tabasco sauce.  When asked, yes, it was the patients’ just to make sure it was available for meals.

That should prove interesting for the hospital dietitians.

And now: where in the world are all these cities and hospitals going to put these new patients with chronic illnesses?  My place routinely holds admitted patients in the ED hallways.  There are no empty hospitals waiting for new patients.