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As part of the response to Hurricane Katrina, a team of UNC Hospitals' physicians and staff left Friday, Sept. 2 to travel to the Gulf Coast as part of the MidCarolina Trauma RAC's State Medical Assistance Team II. The team from UNC Hospitals is comprised of: Christine Clark, RN; Randy Kearns; Preston "Chip" Rich, MD; Michele Rudisill, RN; Ed Wilson, RN; Ben Zarzaur, MD; and Janet Young, MD. A second team from UNC Hospitals left Sept. 9 to relieve the first group of volunteers. The second team to help staff the K-Mart Klinic in Waveland, Miss., is comprised of: Alberto Bonifacio, RN; Joe Manese, Radiology Tech; Peter Milano, 5th year surgical resident; Andrew Millager, Pharmacist; Jim Rawlings, Pastoral Care; Tina Schade-Willis, MD; Renae Stafford, Trauma Attending Surgeon; Jim Starlin, Air Care Communications; and Wes Wallace, MD., attending, emergency medicine.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wednesday

Funny, but everyone is so focused that I had to ask three people before anyone new what day it was. Wednesday. And that was only because he cheated and had a digital watch. We're begining to settle into a routine of sorts. The helipad is really busy now, sometimes 2 at a time. It's rfeally loud here. Between the generators and the helicopters overhead, we're finding that we're all hoarse from talking. A couple people can't talk at all. Patients continue to stream in, but mostly during the daytime/evening because of the 11pm curfew that was imposed in the region. MI's, acute abdomens, fractures. Lots of pharyngitis, rashes, lacerations, sprains. Uncontrolled diabetes because people have run out of insulin. One guy had a terrible skin injury to the inside of both forearms from clinging to a tree for literally hours as the water rose. Every person here has an incredible story to tell - they were part of it, right here, in the eye of Katrina. Had to airlift patients yesterday to Mobile and Jackson. First trauma last night. 12 year old rolled his ATV. I was very proud of the resuscitation. Lots of teamwork. Very quiet, calm. Survey, FAST ultrasound exam, labs, blood gas, and packaged to go in probably 10 minutes. Sent to our friends in Jackson by the Coast Guard helo. Learning something about that. Whe you go to take patients to the pad, come back in before liftoff for anything bigger than the Hueys. The CG Dauphine really kits up the dust - and that's some nasty dust. Worked on a call schedule, but it doesn't really work because everyone is adamant about just working until the work's done. And there's a lot of work. So, everyone is pretty tired, - in a good way. Asked the MS epidemiologist to come by yesterday. Strange rash circling. We all think it's fireants and he agreed. Lots of MRSA around so we're sure to cover it. The OR is up and running. Three cases yesterday. Mostly things like soft tissue infections and the like. But we can and will do more if we need to. The teamwork here is truly something to remember. The support staff have done an incredible job of keeping things running. They have a call schedule to refuel the generators so they just run run run. They've hardwired the remaining parking lot lights to our generators. Because the lights were above the water, we can run them at night - brilliant. One person worked through the day yesterday to hand-build a shower from PVC and garbage bags. Pretty nice. We have 2 huge bladders in the back of the hospital that contain water for our use. We first run it through our own purification system. The local firetruck comes twice a day to assure we're full. Most important: we now have coffee. And diet cokes. For the more complex orders, Noble the busdriver is the go-to man. He's worked his sonnections with the outside world through his nextel so he can get you anything. Contact solution, a 6-pack of Iron City Light, a bucket of Fried chicke. You need it, you go find Noble. We're beginning to landscape now. Nice pretty potted tree from somewhere now adorns the triage entrance. We're learning so much about so many things it' s hard to imagine.
Chip

7 Comments:

Blogger UNC Hospitals said...

Glad you guys are taking care of everyone and yourselves. It really says something about "The Carolinas".
--Ponda

10:47 AM  
Blogger UNC Hospitals said...

I'm happy things are running as smooth as they possibly can there. Keep your heads up and stay strong - we're praying for you. Oh, and by all means, keep your go-to guy as happy as you can - a bucket of fried chicken sounds really good right about now! Tell Ben and the rest hello for me. Miss all of you.

Lori

10:49 AM  
Blogger Jordanro said...

Dr. Rich ( or other team member),

My name is Jordan Romano and I am a 4th year medical student. I first learned about your team from my local newspaper which featured the difficulty you had in reaching a base camp. I am currently waiting for the Pennsylvania Hospital system to send a team, but the time line looks uncertain.
I was hoping this email reaches you so that I might arrange a with your team. I currently have some time off and my school has granted that if I do find a way down, it would be earmarked as a 'community service' rotation.
I would very much like to join the team and have my bags packed, determined to find a way to help.

Thanks for your consideration and best wishes

-Jordan Romano

11:40 AM  
Blogger Jordanro said...

Dr. Rich (or other team member),

My name is Jordan Romano and I am a 4th year medical student. I first learned about your team from my local newspaper which featured the difficulty you had in reaching a base camp. I am currently waiting for the Pennsylvania Hospital system to send a team, but the time line looks uncertain.
I was hoping this email reaches you so that I might arrange a with your team. I currently have some time off and my school has granted that if I do find a way down, it would be earmarked as a 'community service' rotation.
I would very much like to join the team and have my bags packed, determined to find a way to help.

Thanks for your consideration and best wishes

-Jordan Romano

11:41 AM  
Blogger Jordanro said...

contact info: jordanromano@yahoo.com

cell 484-678-2419

thanks again!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

What all of your are doing is so noble. Makes me proud to be a part of UNC. Take care of yourselves and I'll remember you all in my prayers!

Becky

1:09 PM  
Blogger Janis Carroll said...

My daughter Holli from the OEMS is along with your team from UNCCH. My Prayers for strength, guidance, and safety along with a safe return are offered up many times during each day. I have had the opportunity to intern with my daughter working on emergency plans and am so impressed by the dedication of the Medical community in our state. North Carolina is all about heart and caring. God Bless each of you! Heroes with hearts! Janis

5:41 PM  

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