Sep 14, 2008

Voices of Ike - The hospital is full

2:54 pm, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 Houston cardiologist Tom Garcia, MD

Okay, the latest. Our hospital is full, the ER is full. We have requested FEMA to move all patients in the ER to San Antonio; we are waiting for instructions from them.

Water just got going but we are uncertain of the safety so only bottle water for drinking at this time. Dalysis patients are a real concern with out the water pressure and sanity; the hospital can't accommodate the number that might need dialysis. Many of the outpatient facilities can't care for them without water, water pressure, and safe water. Another challenge, we'll figure something out.

With the pressure for beds, we are reviewing all patients/charts to see if they are well enough to go home to make room for the high demand we are experiencing currently. Still no power to vast areas of the city. Some physicians are being held up at other hospitals with other patients of theirs and having their patients in other hospitals needing their attention; again the docs are stepping in to cover them.

The flooding is incredible; fortunately it has not affected us here on the west side too much; unless it rains again like this morning. If so, build an ark. The administration here at West Houston is doing an outstanding job; good leadership, good planning, and good execution. It also helps to have an M&M peanut dispenser close at hand. (We all have a weakness!)

The physicians have done an outstanding job of caring and treating all the patients here. The problems we have encounted are very similar to (New Orleans physician) Mike Ellis' comments after the Katrina storm; e.g. people who stayed on the island now are in trouble and want help. Fortunately some did learn and left: and the process so far appears to be going as smoothly as could be expected for such a bad storm for the ones that didn't listen or prepare.

Got called back, gotta go.

Tom

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