Source:

Nursing2015

November 2005, Volume 35 Number 11 , p 8 - 10 [FREE]

Authors

  • SALLIE HERRLE RN
  • JAMIE GAUDIN RN
  • GWEN LEIGH RN, MSN

Abstract

 

I want the rest of the country to hear about some of the good things that happened in the face of this horrible tragedy. I evacuated St. Charles Parish Hospital in Luling, La., with some of our patients, staff, and others from the community on the Sunday before the storm. We headed to DeSoto Regional Hospital in Mansfield, La., in an ambulance, two cars, and four school buses. Because it took us so long and our patients needed to rest, we had to divert to Lafayette, La., to a special-needs shelter. Its physicians, nurses, and other staff were wonderful to us. We stayed there three nights, then moved on to Mansfield, La., where we joined the rest of our hospital's patients and staff.

 

The people of Mansfield opened their arms and welcomed us. They sheltered us and fed us and made us feel at home. A man we met in a Wal-Mart paid for our supplies because he wanted to help.

 

I want to thank the staff, nurses, and physician who evacuated patients with me and our hospital's leaders who never let us down. We were all blessed.

 

SALLIE HERRLE, RN

 

Luling, La.

 

I'm the assistant director of nursing at a nursing home in Baton Rouge. We've taken in an entire nursing home from the New Orleans area, bringing the total number of residents from 165 to almost 300. The evacuated residents started arriving by buses the day before the storm hit, and were placed in our dining rooms and dayrooms on mattresses. The residents came with their medicines but little or no clothing and not much else-for instance, no medical records. This is now their home.

 

Some of the staff from New Orleans arrived with the residents, but not enough to care for so many people. Some of them brought their children and families as there's nowhere else for them to go. All staff members have been working 12- to 16-hour shifts continuously.

 

My job has changed tremendously. I've been providing basic care such as feeding, changing linens, bathing, and grooming the displaced residents as well as our own. I feel helpless, sad, and overwhelmed. The cries of the residents and some of the staff when they learn they have nothing left to go back to and that we don't know what happened to their families are sometimes too much to handle. Their faces will haunt me for the rest of my life.

 

I've been a nurse for only 6 years. I never imagined that I'd experience anything like this. I give special credit to my director of nursing, Sharon Thoms, RN, who sets an example for all of us. Please pray for the victims and survivors and those who continue to help and comfort the unfortunate.

 

JAMIE GAUDIN, RN

 

Baton Rouge, La.

 

Five days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans evacuated its remaining staff, their families, and their pets. Patients and their families had previously been evacuated. My employer, Southwest Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, acted as a staging area for several hundred of these evacuees, who came by bus after being rescued by helicopter.

 

Staff and family members eagerly discussed their time at Tulane. Nurses told stories of seriously reduced food supplies and generators that worked only intermittently, forcing them to care for patients with only flashlights for illumination. Some expressed regret at having to leave staff and patients still waiting to be evacuated from nearby Charity Hospital. Others told of walking through high floodwaters to take Charity Hospital all of the remaining drinking water, food, and supplies once Tulane's evacuation seemed definite. Many didn't realize the extent of devastation to New Orleans until they were in a Blackhawk helicopter flying over the city.

 

Before the hurricane, most of the staff had packed only about 3 days supply of clothes in a small suitcase. Many didn't know if they now had any other possessions besides this.

 

After they arrived in Lafayette, evacuees were asked to fill out a questionnaire, including where they planned to go now. Some had difficulty answering this, and some had no answer at all. One man there with his family looked at me and said, "I guess we're homeless. I was told on the bus that our neighborhood was flooded." Looking at his paperwork, I saw that he was a physician.

 

It seems surreal, but as I write about my experiences helping the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita is about to hit Louisiana and we anticipate significant damage. Ironically, people who have been helping Hurricane Katrina evacuees are now evacuees themselves.

 

GWEN LEIGH, RN, MSN

 

Lafayette, La.

 

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Annual indexes from 1995 to 2004 are available at http://www.nursing2005.com (click "Journal information"). Nursing2005 is indexed in medline; Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; International Pharmaceutical Abstracts; and General Science Index. Microfilmed issues available from University Microfilms, 300 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Nursing2005 is abstracted in Nursing Abstracts.

 

For information about test results or certificates, call 1-800-787-8985. To take CE tests online, visit http://www.nursingcenter.com/ce/nursing.

 

Quotes of up to 500 words are permitted for noncommercial purposes with credit to Nursing2005, except for articles bearing a copyright notice of others. Nursing faculty and staff-development instructors may photocopy up to 100 copies of articles for educational, noncommercial purposes (except for articles bearing a copyright notice of others) free.

 

Requests for other purposes or for more copies must be submitted to Copyright Clearance Center (call 1-978-750-8400).

 

For single reprints, call 1-800-603-4367 (x3075) or e-mail service@isidoc.com

 

For large quantities of reprints for commercial or academic use, call 1-267-757-3554 or e-mail rosenbaum@pharma.wkhealth.com.

 

For republishing information, go to http://www.lww.com/resources/permissions or e-mail permissions@lww.com.

I want the rest of the country to hear about some of the good things that happened in the face of this horrible tragedy. I evacuated St. Charles Parish Hospital in Luling, La., with some of our patients, staff, and others from the community on the Sunday before the storm. We headed to DeSoto Regional Hospital in Mansfield, La., in an ambulance, two cars, and four school buses. Because it took us so long and our patients needed to rest, we had to divert to Lafayette, La., to a special-needs shelter. Its physicians, nurses, and other staff were wonderful to us. We stayed there three nights, then moved on to Mansfield, La., where we joined the rest of our hospital's patients and staff.

 
Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

The people of Mansfield opened their arms and welcomed us. They sheltered us and fed us and made us feel at home. A man we met in a Wal-Mart paid for our supplies because he wanted to help.

I want to thank the staff, nurses, and physician who evacuated patients with me and our hospital's leaders who never let us down. We were all blessed.

SALLIE HERRLE, RN

Luling, La.

I'm the assistant director of nursing at a nursing home in Baton Rouge. We've taken in an entire nursing home from the New Orleans area, bringing the total number of residents from 165 to almost 300. The evacuated residents started arriving by buses the day before the storm hit, and were placed in our dining rooms and dayrooms on mattresses. The residents came with their medicines but little or no clothing and not much else-for instance, no medical records. This is now their home.

Some of the staff from New Orleans arrived with the residents, but not enough to care for so many people. Some of them brought their children and families as there's nowhere else for them to go. All staff members have been working 12- to 16-hour shifts continuously.

My job has changed tremendously. I've been providing basic care such as feeding, changing linens, bathing, and grooming the displaced residents as well as our own. I feel helpless, sad, and overwhelmed. The cries of the residents and some of the staff when they learn they have nothing left to go back to and that we don't know what happened to their families are sometimes too much to handle. Their faces will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I've been a nurse for only 6 years. I never imagined that I'd experience anything like this. I give special credit to my director of nursing, Sharon Thoms, RN, who sets an example for all of us. Please pray for the victims and survivors and those who continue to help and comfort the unfortunate.

JAMIE GAUDIN, RN

Baton Rouge, La.

Five days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans evacuated its remaining staff, their families, and their pets. Patients and their families had previously been evacuated. My employer, Southwest Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, acted as a staging area for several hundred of these evacuees, who came by bus after being rescued by helicopter.

Staff and family members eagerly discussed their time at Tulane. Nurses told stories of seriously reduced food supplies and generators that worked only intermittently, forcing them to care for patients with only flashlights for illumination. Some expressed regret at having to leave staff and patients still waiting to be evacuated from nearby Charity Hospital. Others told of walking through high floodwaters to take Charity Hospital all of the remaining drinking water, food, and supplies once Tulane's evacuation seemed definite. Many didn't realize the extent of devastation to New Orleans until they were in a Blackhawk helicopter flying over the city.

Before the hurricane, most of the staff had packed only about 3 days supply of clothes in a small suitcase. Many didn't know if they now had any other possessions besides this.

After they arrived in Lafayette, evacuees were asked to fill out a questionnaire, including where they planned to go now. Some had difficulty answering this, and some had no answer at all. One man there with his family looked at me and said, "I guess we're homeless. I was told on the bus that our neighborhood was flooded." Looking at his paperwork, I saw that he was a physician.

It seems surreal, but as I write about my experiences helping the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita is about to hit Louisiana and we anticipate significant damage. Ironically, people who have been helping Hurricane Katrina evacuees are now evacuees themselves.

GWEN LEIGH, RN, MSN

Lafayette, La.

HOW TO REACH US

SUBSCRIPTIONS & CUSTOMER SERVICE

To subscribe or renew, resolve billing questions, order a gift subscription, or submit a change of address, call toll-free 1-800-879-0498 or e-mail nursing@neodata.com

CANADIAN INFORMATION: Address inquiries to Nursing2005, P.O. Box 55338, Boulder, CO 80322-5338, or call 1-800-879-0498. Canadian subscription office is at Nursing2005, Postal Locator: 325, 4960 Walker Road, Unit 2, RR1, Windsor, Ontario N9A 7J9.

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT

For author guidelines, visit http://www.nursing2005.com or call 1-800-346-7844, ext. 7702. To submit a manuscript or article-related comments, questions, or reactions, write Nursing2005, 323 Norristown Rd., Suite 200, Ambler, PA 19002-2758, e-mail nursing@lww.com, or fax to 1-215-367-2155. Please include your mailing address.

Annual indexes from 1995 to 2004 are available at http://www.nursing2005.com (click "Journal information"). Nursing2005 is indexed in medline; Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; International Pharmaceutical Abstracts; and General Science Index. Microfilmed issues available from University Microfilms, 300 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Nursing2005 is abstracted in Nursing Abstracts.

CONTINUING-EDUCATION OFFERINGS

For information about test results or certificates, call 1-800-787-8985. To take CE tests online, visit http://www.nursingcenter.com/ce/nursing.

RIGHTS AND REPRINTS

Quotes of up to 500 words are permitted for noncommercial purposes with credit to Nursing2005, except for articles bearing a copyright notice of others. Nursing faculty and staff-development instructors may photocopy up to 100 copies of articles for educational, noncommercial purposes (except for articles bearing a copyright notice of others) free.

Requests for other purposes or for more copies must be submitted to Copyright Clearance Center (call 1-978-750-8400).

For single reprints, call 1-800-603-4367 (x3075) or e-mail service@isidoc.com

For large quantities of reprints for commercial or academic use, call 1-267-757-3554 or e-mail rosenbaum@pharma.wkhealth.com.

For republishing information, go to http://www.lww.com/resources/permissions or e-mail permissions@lww.com.