Safety

Memorial Medical Center staff members faced tough decisions during Katrina

Emergency Management Alert, September 8, 2009

Memorial Medical Center staff members faced tough decisions during Katrina Hurricane Katrina has served as an ongoing reminder of the importance of emergency management, and the story of Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans is no different. A new New York Times piece goes into depth about the problems and decisions staff members faced as the storm broke windows, flooded streets, and ultimately left the hospital a sweltering shelter with no power.

Memorial Medical Center staff members faced tough decisions during Katrina Hurricane Katrina has served as an ongoing reminder of the importance of emergency management, and the story of Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans is no different. A new New York Times piece goes into depth about the problems and decisions staff members faced as the storm broke windows, flooded streets, and ultimately left the hospital a sweltering shelter with no power.

No power meant no air conditioning and no elevators, creating a hazardous situation for those in critical care, and for those who were too heavy to be easily carried up several flights of stairs to be evacuated via helicopter, reports the Times. Several patients in critical care were given painkillers, many of whom later died. Many of these patients were not the hospital’s patients, but LifeCare Hospital of New Orleans’ patients, a company leasing the seventh floor at Memorial, which led to confusion over who had control of what actions on which patients.

What resulted were dire decisions by staff members debated for years in court, and a movement by some healthcare workers for better planning and more autonomy to staff members in catastrophic situations.

Click here to read more about Memorial Medical Center during Katrina.

Most Popular