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.

Monday, October 03, 2005

When Race and Class Cannot be Disentangled

From television it was bad, from the air it was a disaster, but from the ground up close and personal with the lives of the affected, it was hell. That which was the the dream of the majority of doctors, nurses, and other treating professionals- provding care based on need and in a system where health is parmount and obstacles to patient care like insurance are non-existent- was a nightmare for the residents of Waveland, MS. The placidity of patient care was too often interrupted by a glance outside of the guarded fence to the misery, dispair, and suffering on the faces of those that had been most affected by Katrina. The storm, for many, took possessions and personal artifacts; homes, cars, and furniture that will be recovered. For others, she took that which was most precious and difficult to recover; dignity, self-respect, and the lives of family and close friends.

The previously homeless now stand in the same lines as their once separated-by-affluence neighbors for food, assistance, and clothing. The uneducated stand beside the educated. The old and tired stand beside the young and vibrant. Majority now stands with minority. Katrina, has reduced class, race, education, age, and achievement into one class; disenfranchised.

We came to help a disenfranchised Waveland, independent of historical achievements, social class, education, age, or race. We stand proud on our contributions to their recovery, yet dysphoric knowing that some community in the near future will need our services again. We are inspired by the strength of those who persist, even when all has been lost. We continue to work hard for residents knowing that we stand beside volunteers each day that lost more than we now have.

From this hell we hope that the residents of Waveland continue to work towards a better future, strive for a higher level of functioning, and dream of a Waveland recovered from the effects of Katrina.

Dr. Christopher L. Edwards
Deployment Team #5
Camp North Carolina


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