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.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

From the home front

I am trying to field all the volunteering requests that are flooding the trauma program office. Setting up instructions on our MidCarolina RAC website has helped. I can't imagine what this would be like on this end without email! I am anxious to hear what the team reports back as to anticipated continued needs for personnel, but by reading the postings, can see that the needs will continue to be many for the coming weeks or longer. I know that everyone on the first deployment must be exhausted already, but are proud to be part of the effort. We are all proud of you as well. Please let me know of any thoughts that any of you may have for the next round of SMAT members that come down, or who you might like me to approach. I am thinking about you all constantly--everyone here is.

Chris Ogden

Galloping to Gulfport

We have just departed Camp Shelby and we are on the way to Gulfport, MS. The convoy passed a car crash on the way out of Camp Shelby. Although traffic was backed up there were no injuries. At this time we are taking an unexpected bathroom break. One person had to go so the whole 31 vehicle convoy had to stop. As soon as we stopped, several others suddenly had to go as well. In the meantime Chip and I have been working on a plan for Trauma Resus. The hospital in Gulfport is completely off line at this time. There is a DMAT on the ground that is seeing 400 patients a day and there is no trauma capability in a 6 county area. We will be the new Trauma Center as well as acute care hospital in Gulfport. We should be there later this afternoon. Once we are up and running we will update again and we will try to post pictures if possible. As we are finding out, plans can change rapidly.

Decamping Shelby

Yesterday was an important day to decompress and rest. With fuel issues and the mechanical clinks of the convoy meant we travelled all night straight through, and then had to set up camp. Everyone was eaxhausted and hungry. No 80 hour work week down here. Myself and four other medical people went ahead to Gulfport and Biloxi yesterday evening to plan. The devastation was unbeleivable. En route to Biloxi Regional Med Ctr, we drove past rubble piles as big as the buildings they used to be and downtrodden souls wandering about the streets. The Governor of MS has requested our presence in Biloxi, so that is where we're heading now. Although Biloxi Regional is getting back on line, we will deploy there and provide support until we are moved - if we are moved. The logistical coordination between FEMA, the states and everyone else is a serpent with no head. I've been on thw cell non-stop. The Army fed us, fueled us, and we're heading out of Fort Shelby, straight South 70 miles to the Gulfcoast. I'm writing this from inside the ICU in the 18 wheeler. Air Conditioned! 98 outside. I've offered to be the ICU go-to person, but I think the IC has seen through my superficial ploy for a cool comfortable environment. We're all very much a team, each of us doing a bit of everything. Hopefully, when we encamp in Biloxi, we'll set up the sat-com. Good news as I'm getting Treo fingers. We're all still so proud to be bringing North Carolina's unique resources to our ailing friends here on the Gulf Coast. Time to head back out from my happy cool little ICU to the heat of MS. Excited to head back today with the whole team.

one more thing

Another issue with placement of the hospital has to do with the helicopter service. There is so much debris on the ground in Biloxi that there is a real risk of flying objects penetrating the hospital tents or even the ambulances. We may end up in Gulfport if there is less debris. More later.