UNC Hospitals' Hurricane Katrina Response Blog


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.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Deployment Preparation

It's been quite an exciting and busy day. Have had the opportunity to reflect on our mission. We all feel very proud to be a part of such a great community, state, and relief system. All of our gear is packed and ready to go. Just got a shipment of OR supplies from UNC. Gloves for Ben and myself, staplers, PPE, the like. It's hard trying to prepare for something so uncertain, but the SMAT-2 team has really done an outstanding job, wuth the support of those around us. Just gave an interview with NBC 17, to be on tonight at 11pm. Not responsible fo the content. Jackson and Berk, my two sons were quite a part of it - as was our fat dog who kept barking from the deck. "Let me in." The kids and my wife Melissa are very excited too, if a little scared. The plan tomorrow is to meet in Charlotte around 10am to deploy with our gear and the other SMAT members from around the state. There will be about 70 of us - nurses, docs (Ben Zarzaur, myself, and 4 others we hear), paramedics, and the like. We will be staffing a mobile hospital complete with OR beds and fully stocked. Plan 2 12 hour shifts with 3 docs each, 2 sets of staff. May have to be modified based on what we find. Logistical nightmares abound though. No fuel guarantee south of Atlanta - we've been working on plans to take our own to feed the generators and get us back. Hopefully the National Guard and local Law Enforcement will meet us to provide a modicum of security. Plan to find a nice piece of land in New Orleans, high and dry to set up shop. Communication will be hard. Towers down as we hear from the DMATs who are there now. We will have Satelite phones for emergencies. If we can maintain a connection, I'll try to keep everyone up to date. Long strange trip ahead.
Chip Rich

UNC Health Care