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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Return from Rotation #4

Just returned early yesterday morning from rotation #4. Wish I had the chance to write some of this while I was in Waveland, but you get so swept up in all that's going on, and our work hours in the pharmacy had us running from sun up to sun down, so I hope I can convey well enough what we experienced.

Things are running quite smoothly at "Camp Katrina". I have to give kudos to the teams before us that have turned this project into a machine that runs with the efficiency and expertise that is comparable to any of the institutions that we all hail from. Despite some early setbacks (i.e - having to spend our first night at Stennis NASA because of Hurricane Rita), as soon as the team got to work, we were working like a family. I suppose you have to bond together like that to be able to serve such a devastated community.

We took tours of the wreckage, and a local woman named Vickie, and her son Willy, showed us their home, or what was left of it....which was basically nothing but a pile of rubble. It's hard to wrap your mind around how much they have lost. A few of us got to go up in a helicopter to take an aerial view of the damage. You think when you're on the ground, that it can't possible look any worse. Then you get up in the air, and it actualy IS worse....much worse.

I can honestly say this was by far one of the best experiences of my life. There are few things I can imagine that can make you feel as good as you do when you've been able to help even just one victim. The best of human nature was well on display in Waveland, Mississippi this past week. It's a lesson for all of us to learn from.