Sep 14, 2008

Voices of Ike - Internal Disaster Mode

9:50 am, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 Houston cardiologist A. Tomas Garcia, MD

I just finished rounds and the situation at this moment is the following: Some physicians and support staff can't get to the hospital. With the cold front and rains that it brought, flooding is now a real problem. With a saturated ground, the water has to go somewhere and causes its usual problems, i.e. into home and cars and hospitals.

Mainland Hospital is out; it lost its roof and the roof over the OR rooms. All have been transferred. BayShore Hospital s out; flooding with sewage. St. Luke's is surrounded with water as is the TMC, so getting into and out is a real problem. So patients are left with our suburban hospitals like ours.

We are now on strict water conservation. The entire county and surrounding area has this common problem. Basically all our hospitals are now on Internal Disaster Mode and addressing their unique and individual problems as they see fit. So far, we had no employee injury or patient event.

Our ERs are starting to have the usual injury and "trying to clean-up the mess" accidents. We are also starting to have the acute sob and chest pains that usually occur in the aftermath. Our hospital staff is staying in areas of the professional bldg to rotate with the hospital staff working their shifts; again trying to have "fresh" folks for our patients.

The docs are hanging in there; I think I'm running on adrenaline now. Had 2-3 hours sleep; got called back to the ER for acs (acute coronary syndrome). One MD was told there were no generators to be had and if they were available they are expensive. I've just crossed out my freezer; there go those ducks. Oh well. Also, the salmon and halibut. Oh well.

My son, Guillermo just got into Dallas from Afghanistan and can't get into Houston. Needless to say, "a little pissed off" is a mild statement for the military just coming from the front line. Oh well. Carlos, my other, just collapses and sleeps when he can.

Lots of work to do and patients to see.

Just got another call, gotta go.

Tom

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