Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mobile ER, Update

A follow up to a September 4th blog, also excerpted from the Charlotte Observer:

After some bureaucratic delays, the mobile hospital that left Charlotte Friday to help victims of Hurricane Katrina began operating late Sunday in the parking lot of a demolished Kmart in Bay Saint Louis, Miss., about 60 miles east of New Orleans.

Doctors and nurses from Carolinas Medical Center and other N.C. hospitals treated about 85 to 100 patients Monday, relieving the storm-damaged Hancock Regional Hospital, said CMC spokesman Scott White, who is traveling with the crew.

Most of the patients reported minor problems, such as dehydration, cuts and bruises. A few trauma victims were treated after an automobile crash, White said.

"It's filthy here," White said by cell phone Monday. "The storm surge left all kinds of stuff."

For example, he said, before the crew could convert its two 18-wheel tractor-trailers into the mobile hospital, it waited for front-end loaders to clear the parking lot of cars that had been deposited there during the hurricane and flood.

Communication with government agencies has been difficult, White said, but "once we caught up with the right guy," the hospital was assigned to Bay Saint Louis.

The mobile hospital, called Carolinas MED-1, was designed by Dr. Tom Blackwell, a CMC emergency physician and coordinator of the relief effort. MED-1 was built with a grant from the Office of Homeland Security. It travels in a convoy that includes the two tractor-trailers that convert into a 100-patient hospital, complete with operating rooms.


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