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 14, 2005

What To Bring to Kamp Katrina

Getting ready to be deployed here to Kamp Katrina? Let me give you some useful information on what you need to bring, and perhaps more important, what you don't need. Though Chris Ogden or others will need to confirm this for you, there is a good chance you will fly in, missing a delightful 13 hour bus ride. Additionally, you'll likely have a 40 pound weight limit on what you can bring. No need to waste it on useless stuff.

You don't need heavy boots, a canteen, a sleeping pad, mess kit, BDU pants or many of the items you might have needed if you came to a debris filled disaster area. Thanks to those who came on the first deployment, this place has become luxury camping. You'll sleep on a spring suspended cot topped with a foam pad. There are several options for sleeping quarters. Some us sleep in a large, air conditioned tent which extends from and surrounds MED-1. It's at least 12,000 square, probably more. Other folks sleep in a series of air conditioned gear equipment trailers used to haul gear here. There also non air conditioned tents, if you prefer. It gets cool at night, especially in the air conditioned spaces. Bring a light weight sleeping bag.

You don't need to bring food, or drinks. There's plenty and the quality is acceptable, lots of snacks, too.

Comfortable working clothes are fine. Scrubs work well. Shorts are now condoned. You'll probably want a hat. Several of us look lobsterish. If you may work at night, bring a sweater or sweatshirt. I became uncomfortably cool working a night shift. Wear comfortable shoes that you like to work in. You'll be walking on a parking lot tarmac. Running shoes work. Clogs work. You choose. The hazardous debris has been cleaned up.

Fueled by excitement, weird hours and a love of chemical toilets, the greatest health problem for the staff here has become,... ah... constipation. Metamucil anyone? Seriously, if this is ever an issue for you, some kind of fiber pill or suppliment should be considered. The experience here could stay with you longer than you'd like.

The only chemical experience here is the toilets. There the standard issue used on construction sites. They're well maintained. We have showers here. Well to be honest, it's a chemical decontamination tent. One for guys and one for gals. The sign says "Male Shower." No hot water. Water sitting in the tanks has been in the sun for a while it's just on the cool side of warm. I've never found it gasping cold.

Now cell phones work. If you don't have them to call home, phones are available here. We've got Wi-Fi access, too.

Got to go. More patients are waiting. Look forward to seeing you Thursday.



Blogger Susan M sullivan said...

Just returned yesterday on the Rick Hendrick Racing Team jet-a Saab 2000. My husband was impressed. I would just add those little foam earplugs and a sleep mask to the checklist of items to bring. The big tent at Med 1 can get noisy with the generators going, and the lights are always on in the ambulatory care area. The mosquitoes should be returning shortly. Definitely bring a camera-an inexpensive disposable at the very least. This is the most awesome public health experience I have ever witnessed. I am proud to be with the UNC family as a NC Public Health Regional Surveillance Team member.

9:23 PM  

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