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, October 07, 2005


For the members of the second deployment team, Tony came by today. He had a minor injury to his thumb, but he is happy, healthy, and moving on with life. He has seen Howard and has spoken often with him since our departure.

Tony also reports that he has agreed to pay better attention to his diet and medications. As a result of his willingness to do this, he now walks WITHOUT his cane. He was all smiles today. It was wonderful to see him.

A patient whom Jerry had helped save from a burning car during the first week the team came was also back. She recognized him and was so greatful to him. She wanted to make sure that she had the opportunity to thank him this time. Having gone through so much already during that earlier time, she had not had the chance to say thank you to him.

A patient whom we treated yesterday for a broken elbow came back in for a follow up study. She was also all smiles and was so happy to see us again. She works for the church, and is a volunteer who has come here to help the people of Waveland. She is scheduled to go home today.

A few people whom we met during our earlier deployment have come back. It was wonderful to see them again. To be honest, I could not remember all their names, but all the same, it was wonderful to see them agian.

Tony reminded me that he had promised me a fried turkey sandwich. I told him not to concern himself about that. It was just such a good feeling to see him doing so well.

Money and recognition can never compare to the reward one receives from seeing that someone one has helped is making it. All the extra long days, the missed showers, the long bus ride, and the inconviniences of having to re-arrange my life for these deployments are all made insignificant with just having the chance to see Tony's smiling face. It is good to know that he is here today, because we were here four weeks ago. No other compensation can compare to the feeling of knowing that one has made a difference is another person's life.

Can anyone think of any better reason to have done all this?