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.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Media coverage

Well the phone has been ringing off the hook here in North Carolina. Private citizens are calling asking for your help, others are offering theirs. The media is very interested in the efforts of the team. Unfortunately, they are still fixated on the roadblocks that were temporarily encountered. I have tried my best to describe the current situation, where you are, who you are, and what you are doing to redirect them. Everyone here is rooting for you and are in full support. As the people there likely have not seen much news lately please let them know that there are relief efforts of all shapes and sizes occurring all over the country. We just spent two hours standing in line at Mapleview Farms in Hillsborough to support their fundraiser. Today they are donating all proceeds to the relief effort. The people just kept coming and the lines snaked around the property. Lots of smiles and very few complaints! I will take the liberty of speaking for all your families and friends at home--we miss you very much and are so proud of your dedication and efforts!


on site

Will try to be more brief. Just wrote a page and 1/2 and the wind blew the satellite com on the roof. We're here and it's up and running. Has been an exhausting few days but we're happy to be here. You may have guessed from the media reports that things were a little rough for a while. We were having much trouble finding an appropriate place to depoly. Our initial mission was to support the Regional Med Ctr in Boloxi. However, they had done an incredible job of restructuring and had gottem back on their feet. On our inspection of the site, we felt there was no mission. At least the kiond we felt we could and should respond to. That's when we hit a roadblock. Our calls to redeploy to an area of need fell on deaf ears. Thanks to hard work and persistance, we managed to create a redeployment to the eye of the storm. Many thanks to Jeff Guy at Vanderbilt who was very helpful and instrumental in getting our plight out. Bottom line - eveyone dod the right thing and we're in the eye of the storm. We deployed to ground Zero, a little place called Waveland between gulfport and New Orleans. The eye went right over us. The devastation here is complete. We arrived at night and wirked through the night into the morning to set up camp. We're in a demolished strip mall in front of a Super K. Unbeleivable. You won't beleive the pictures. Our SWAT team and a local demo truck pulled flooded cars from the are and piled them to creae a sound perimeter. We put the SWAT team in PPE and they crawled around the buildings scouting for our perimeter protection. They found 8 bodies on the roof. Apparently the flood waters rose above the roofs. 40 bodies in the Walmart next door. Alligators and coppermouths. But we're safe. Really. Can't Pee without a guard with an M-16. Ben is doing recon in a helo looking for refugees. I just got back from the DMAT sytem depllyed at New Hanover Hospital. Destroyed. I managed to get some sterilization equipmengt and TA-55's. Business is booming. As word gets out, more and more patients are arriving. Bowel obstructions, MVC's, dehydrated children, wounds, lacs, you name it. Taking lots of x-rays, sending out free meds. Since we're here, infrastructure is being built around us. When we arrived, there were whole families in the parking lots. A liitle city with nothing. Now a tent city is being buit next us. CNN is here, helo's flying over constantly. I'm going to work now on arranging a LZ for the helos. I'm happy we're here. A rough couple days, but now eveything is moving right along. Happy to be here. Love to Mel, Jackon, and Berk. By the way, our first patient was a puppy with dehydration and some nasty skin disease. Doing O.K. on a cardboard box under the hospital.

Article by the Associate Press

I opened the Richmond Times this morning and there was an article about the team! Unfortunately, it was highlighting frustration with Louisiana officials about getting the team there. I am not sure when this interview with Dr. Rich occurred in relation to Ben's latest posting, but am sure that setting up in Gulfport, especially as a trauma center, will be very valuable even if the team cannot get into Louisiana. AS with all articles, some of the facts weren't quite right, but it was amazing to see our effort was picked up by the AP, probably due to the imbedded reporter. There is no posting today yet, so I am hopeful that they may be setting up in Gulfport.

Chris Ogden

Link to AP article: http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/09/04/katrina.sick.redtape.ap/