Dec 1, 2009

UTMB Struggles to Shrug Off Impact of Hurricane Ike -- Podcast TMA

When Hurricane Ike swept in off the Gulf of Mexico in the early morning hours last Sept. 13, 2008, officials at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston were ready. They had evacuated all patients from their hospitals and secured research facilities. They had urged students, residents, and nonessential personnel to flee Galveston Island. And they had an emergency team of physicians, nurses, and other staff ready to ride out the storm and to provide care as needed.

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But UTMB officials were not prepared for the tremendous devastation that Hurricane Ike dealt to their campus. While there was very little damage from winds that topped 100 miles per hour, the storm surge Ike carried ashore from the gulf flooded more than 1 million square feet of ground-floor space throughout the campus.

The result was hundreds of millions of dollars in damages that disrupted training for both medical students and residents and shut down UTMB’s hospitals for months.

The cover story in the December issue of Texas Medicine chronicles the destruction Hurricane Ike wreaked on UTMB and the 15-month odyssey its students, faculty, and staff have gone through to put the pieces back together.>

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Ben Raimer, MD, UTMB’s senior vice president for health policy, and Steven Lieberman, MD, professor and vice dean for academic affairs, discuss the impact Ike had on UTMB’s educational and clinical operations and the continuing efforts to restore the campus and its hospitals.

This installment covers:

  • Extent of the damage to UTMB.
  • The impact of the storm on UTMB students and residents.
  • Status of the ongoing recovery efforts and how those efforts are being funded.
  • Future of UTMB in Galveston.
  • The status and future of “Old Red.”

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