Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Evacuation of Hospitals

One of my supervisors got a call about the evacuation of hospitals in the aftermath of Katrina. There is so much information out there, and so many people already talking and blogging about this horrible disaster that I'm just going to stick with blogging about it from a nursing standpoint. I wish I could be there and do something to help, but I'm not ready yet. I can only commend the nurses and docs who have either dropped everything and flown out to help, or the ones who are already there and doing everything they can to survive and do what they can for their patients. They have my deepest respect.

I can only imagine how difficult it would be to completely evacuate a hospital with no power and rising floodwaters. I know how I've heard nurses grumble when there isn't an open bed on the floor and they need to move a patient out of the CCU. Multiply that by 800, take away food and power, and make the room you're trying to move them to a thousand miles away, and I don't even want to imagine. But you know what? I know they'll do it. Nurses are amazing people.

NEW YORK (Reuters) Aug 31 - Tenet Healthcare Corp. on Tuesday said its five hospitals in the New Orleans area and its hospital in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area suffered serious damage from Hurricane Katrina, and three of them have had to evacuate all patients and staff.

The Dallas-based company said it cannot yet estimate the extent of water and wind damage, but anticipates its costs will be "significant" even after taking into account its existing insurance coverage for property damage and business interruption.

"All are currently without municipal power and telephone service, and are using back-up generators," Tenet said, adding that no hurricane-related injuries to patients have been reported.
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - As floodwaters rose around Charity Hospital, the rescuers needed their own rescuing.

Charity’s backup generator was running out of diesel fuel. Nurses hand-pumped ventilators for patients who couldn’t breathe. Doctors canoed supplies in from three nearby hospitals.

“It’s like being in a Third World country. We’re trying to work without power. Everyone knows we’re all in this together. We’re just trying to stay alive,� said Mitch Handrich, a registered nurse manager at the state’s biggest public hospital.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said 2,500 patients would be evacuated from hospitals in Orleans Parish, but it wasn’t immediately clear where they would be moved.

Police were working to get more generators to Charity and its 300 patients. The most critically ill would be evacuated first, with the rest to go later this week.

Patients delivered by boat
Outside Charity, water was 3 to 4 feet deep in the street. Inside, halls were dark and slippery. Workers ferried supplies up and down darkened stairs. Everyone needed flashlights.

And yet the injured kept coming. At one point, a boat pulled up carrying a man doubled over in pain.

“Where are we going to put him? We’re the rescuee now. People coming in here, it’s like running into a burning building looking for shelter,� nursing supervisor Ray Campo said.

Helicopters landed at the hospital’s parking garage — sometimes first picking up specialists from other cities — to get about 25 sick babies and take them to hospitals in Lafayette, New Iberia and Alexandria, said Richard Zeuschlag, president of Acadian Ambulance Service Inc.

Boats had to take other patients eight miles to a highway intersection, where 80 ambulances waited to ferry them for triage at the LSU Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.

Hospital evacuations
Other hospitals were also scrambling to get patients out.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. said it was evacuating its 317-bed Memorial Medical Center and 187-bed Lindy Boggs Medical Center in New Orleans. The company’s 203-bed Kenner Regional Medical Center in Kenner, 207-bed Meadowcrest Hospital in Gretna, and 174-bed NorthShore Regional Medical Center in Slidell remained open with back-up power but also suffered water and wind damage.

Most hospitals had supplies and generator power for three to five days, but the effects of Hurricane Katrina would last much longer. “They’re short of supplies and diesel, and without people to get to them,� Zeuschlag said.

Medical disaster teams, able to triage and treat as many as 250 patients in three days were on their way from seven states to areas damaged by the storm, the Federal Emergency Management Administration said. Two veterinary teams were also coming to handle pets and rescue dogs.

Perched a lofty 8 feet above sea level in Jefferson Parish, Ochsner Clinic was one of the few in the area still up and running. It tried to focus on taking in only those patients with life-threatening illnesses.

Even at the clinic, broken glass littered some areas, and patients and staff alike had fallen on floors slick with hurricane waters. With electricity and air conditioning out, generators were providing the only power.

But there was ample water, food, blood and medical supplies to do everything needed, and enough power to keep medical machinery humming, hospital officials said, crediting the plans and preparations made before the storm hit.

“I’m proud to tell you that, things are going — under the circumstances — really well,� said nurse Jackie Lupo, director of labor and delivery.

Several women gave birth during the ordeal, each baby announced with a tune over the loudspeaker.

“Nobody named one Katrina yet,� said clinic spokeswoman Katherine Voss.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 4:49 PM
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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Call For Support

If anyone can help out over at Becoming A Nurse, she's got a relative exhibiting some worrying symptoms. She's already taken her to the doc and the ED.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 12:36 PM
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Man Fakes LPN License

Seems he doctored up his CNA license to look like an LPN license to get more hours and more pay. He gave meds and supervised other staff. He says "I wasn't doing anything to put anyone's life in jeopardy". He was only busted when he applied for a position at another place and they didn't find him on the state registry.

The Senior Investigator for the State Board of Nursing says that he's found about 50 cases in a dozen years of license fraud. I wonder how many he hasn't found.
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In a related story, problems caused by 'baby nurses' are now making headlines. Hundreds of certificates are passed out after 2 or 3-day classes which proclaim the holder to be a 'Certified Baby Nurse'. Basically it's about the same as the Red Cross babysitter class (including CPR). By calling themselves baby nurses, they may appear more professional - leading to a misplacement of trust in these babysitters which would normally be held for people holding nursing degrees.

In New York State, no one can say they're an engineer or a doctor unless they're a licensed professional, but nurses - and their trusting patients - don't yet have this protection.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) introduced a bill in March to make the term "nurse" a protected title. The bill is in committee.
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Marj would like to redirect readers to her new blog location Livin' Large. Sounds like she's really busy with her OR residency!
Posted by HypnoKitten at 11:32 AM
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Friday, August 19, 2005

More Blogs

I've got a pile of blogs here on my desk, and they aren't going to post themselves. :)

The NurseBlogs community is constantly growing - please welcome our new friends:

March of the Platypi: Fabulous ER stories from a guy who's right in the thick of it. Definately someone you'll want to have a link to.

The Drunken Lagomorph brings us the touching story "How I Learned the Difference Between Farts and Boners"

Manage This discusses nursing management and current trends. His posts have references! ;) Actually, this is one of the few blogs we have from the business end of nursing, and it's a pretty good read.

The University of Arizona College of Nursing has a blog. Normally, this wouldn't be very interesting, except that these nurses are getting their PhD's! (In the style of Wayne and Garth) Rock on, Dr. Nurse! These folks are already RNs, so the link will go under Nurses rather than Students.

Gypsy Cowgirl Thinks is another nurse-shutterbug with an assortment of absolutely lovely photos. I'm always surprised at the quality of pictures on some blogs, and the wonder of the internet that lets us share our personal stories and visions so easily.

Spelunk in the Trunk is a nice personal blog from a Houston, Texas RN. She certainly has a sense of humor!

The Lady With the Lamp - Not! is an NP from NYC who works in dialysis and pheresis. Interesting stories about working as a partner with MDs. She's been working in healthcare since she was 14 - wow!

Jet Set Janet: You've got to go take a look at this one. She's on some sort of world tour, and just leaving Saudi Arabia now. The culture differences she describes are mind boggling. I've got too much attitude to be able to put up with that. I'd probably end up in jail (seriously!). I haven't gotten too far back into her archives yet, but I will. The whole experience is amazing - be prepared to have some strong feelings.

Luxifer has more beautiful photography on her blog. She is a nurse from Montreal, Canada, and much of what she writes is in French - but you don't need to understand her words to appreciate the beauty of her pictures. I've been through the archives here, and they contain even more.

Nanner is a cat-loving Missouri RN who is new to blogging. Her aptly-named blog, Meow, has some cute pics of her cats.

Eric135 is a charge nurse on (I believe) a med/surg unit. He's also a foodie and a sci-fi lover, and is doing very well sticking with his diet. He's got a good combination of personal and work stories, and he's pretty funny. I like his post on Pain.

Keep on Bloggin'
Posted by HypnoKitten at 10:18 PM
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

NurseWeek !

Recently, fellow bloggers Mia (DeathMaiden), Jo (Head Nurse), John (Disappearing John), Geena (Codeblog), and I were interviewed for an article in NurseWeek magazine! It's very nice to see it has come out, and is everything I had hoped it would be. It's an honor to be chosen to participate in something like this, and I hope it serves as a catalyst to invite more nurses to blogging.

If you're a nurse contemplating blogging and you'd like some help, shoot me an email and I'll be glad to assist however I can. If you already have a blog and would like to be listed with NurseBlogs, email me your info.

Keep an eye out for new NurseBlog links coming this weekend!
Posted by HypnoKitten at 6:08 PM
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Awesome



Isn't this the most beautiful thing?

Click on the pic for more amazing sun images.
Posted by HypnoKitten at 12:28 AM
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Monday, August 01, 2005

Why? I Wish I Knew.

Blogrolling is obviously missing some of you guys when you update your blogs. I feel like I need to click on everyone in the list just to make sure blogrolling isn't lying to me (and usually it is).

So there are new posts, and you can't rely on the little "new" tags to help you much - but there is a sort of band-aid remedy for the moment is you really want your posts to show up as new. Click on this link and bookmark it. It's a way to manually tell blogrolling that you've updated. You've got to do it within 5 minutes of putting up a new post, so it's a pain in the posterior, but maybe if you can get them to ping you once, they'll do it more often (yeah, right).

I've got a web designer working on getting the whole link thing working for us. It may never work for LiveJournal/MSN users.

Please grab a NurseBlogs link if you haven't already. I think it will help the community grow. I'd personally appreciate a link to Mediblogopathy itself if you're able to do that.

Coming soon: NurseBlogs awards! More info later. ;)
Posted by HypnoKitten at 8:53 PM
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