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In A Houston Emergency Room, It Was A Week Like No Other – NPR

Dr. Winston Watkins, an internist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston, volunteered to do a shift in the ER to give his colleagues a break. Rachel Osier Lindley/KERA hide caption

Dr. Winston Watkins, an internist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston, volunteered to do a shift in the ER to give his colleagues a break.

St. Joseph Medical Center is downtown Houston’s only hospital, located just down the street from the convention center where thousands of evacuees have been staying since Harvey hit.

As of Friday, some doctors and nurses have been on the clock for almost a full week.

Trent Tankersley, director of emergency services at St. Joseph Medical Center in downtown Houston, had a very long work week, as did many of his colleagues. Rachel Osier Lindley/KERA hide caption

Trent Tankersley, director of emergency services at St. Joseph Medical Center in downtown Houston, had a very long work week, as did many of his colleagues.

When you’re working in an ER during a major natural disaster, nothing is routine. Trent Tankersley, director of emergency services at St. Joseph Medical Center, describes one tense situation after another in the hospital this week.

“We had a lady who the only vehicle heavy enough and strong enough to get to her through the floodwaters was a dump truck. She was pregnant. She was in labor. She was brought to the hospital in the dump bed of a dump truck, soaking wet.

“As we were getting her over to the women’s building to get taken care of, we had a trauma come in. Shortly after that, we had a young man [who] came in that was having a stroke.”

Tankersley showed up to work Saturday, and hasn’t had what you’d consider “a break” since.

“Finally got to go home last night for a couple hours and do some laundry and then came right back. So it’s been an interesting five or six days.”

Some staff haven’t been home since before Harvey struck

Kristen Benjamin, an associate chief nursing officer, has been right beside Tankersley.

“I think we’re all working on adrenaline right now. We’re working shift by shift. Some people are doing 15-, 16-hour shifts. We let them go off and sleep. They come back in.”

Kristen Benjamin, associate chief nursing officer at St. Joseph Medical Center, says many employees hadn’t been home to see if their houses were flooded. Rachel Osier Lindley/KERA hide caption

Kristen Benjamin, associate chief nursing officer at St. Joseph Medical Center, says many employees hadn’t been home to see if their houses were flooded.

They’ve seen more than 600 patients in the first five days. At times, they saw more patients in a few hours than they usually would in a whole day.

Many staffers have been stuck at the hospital, with no clear path to their homes. As floodwaters recede, their coworkers can finally come back.

“We’re going to start transitioning staff out to get home so that they can check on their homes,” Benjamin says. “Because some of them don’t even know what’s happening at their house right now because they haven’t been home since Friday. So I don’t even really have an idea if their house has been flooded or not.”

His first day working in the ER

Among those staffing the ER are doctors from other departments pitching in, and even medical students, like Diana Johnson. She and her classmates are using a Google spreadsheet to organize shifts to help.

She’s in her third year at Houston’s McGovern Medical school. She’s assisting Dr. Winston Watkins, an internist on his first day in the ER.

“One of the first patients that came in happened to be one of my own patients from my practice, and he came in with his foot hurting,” he says.”So Diana evaluated him and it turns out he has gangrene of his right fourth toe. And so we’re going to admit him to the hospital.”

“Some of them don’t even know what’s happening at their house right now because they haven’t been home since Friday.”

His house is underwater

Nurse Aaron Padron says he’s never seen such a wide range of emotions in the ER.

“A lot of laughter crying yelling, tears,” he says. “People that you work with you think that wouldn’t crack just put their head in their hands and take a second to cry to themselves, or not to themselves, and wipe away the tears and get back to work.”

He’s been working here for most of the last week, except Saturday night.

Aaron Padron, an emergency room nurse, says hospital employees were much more emotional, reflecting the stresses on everyone in the city. Rachel Osier Lindley/KERA hide caption

Aaron Padron, an emergency room nurse, says hospital employees were much more emotional, reflecting the stresses on everyone in the city.

“I went home on Saturday to sort of rescue my family before the floods got too high for me to get in or out,” he says. “And then I came back Sunday and I’ve been working and sleeping here ever since.”

Neighbors say his house is underwater. He says several others working in the ER saw their homes flooded. In a way, he says, it’s all been a transformational experience.

“I think times of crisis, in times of emergency, in times of stress really have a way to bring people together and create a lot of camaraderie and really can push people to excel at what they do,” he says.

Once reinforcements come in, he’ll be able to rotate off his shift and find out just how much his family lost.

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In A Houston Emergency Room, It Was A Week Like No Other – NPR

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ER doc resting at home when car plowed into 7 people – Standard Speaker

RICE TWP. Still in her pajamas and sipping coffee after a long overnight shift in the emergency room, Dr. Annette Mann bolted from her house Friday afternoon upon hearing a thunderous crash outside.

She didnt even pause to put on shoes.

Mann, a trauma doctor for 20 years, spotted a man she recognized from the neighborhood wounded in the street outside her Aleksander Boulevard home.

He grabbed my ankles and said to me, My babies. Where are my babies? I turned my head and I realized there were children all over the lawn. I just went in automatic emergency medicine mode, Mann recalled.

Bryan Herbst, his wife, Nina, the couples four small children and a niece had been hit by an out-of-control car during a walk and lay critically wounded.

Mann, 51, started a triage process to assess the victims and treat them in order of injury severity.

Tessa, the couples beloved 10-month-old daughter, was in the worst shape. She wasnt breathing.

I went to the baby first because I saw the carriage was mangled. My neighbor Becky (Mendrzycki) did so great. We got her airway open and I had Becky hold her airway open so she could breathe better. I was on the phone at the same time, Mann said.

Mann, an emergency room doctor at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton for 10 years, said she was relaying information to emergency responders to prepare them for arrival. She also gave directions to neighbors and even her 17-year-old twin sons about what they could do to help the victims.

I do what I do best when I work with people who add to the team approach, she said.

After ambulances shuttled the victims to hospitals and helicopter landing zones, a bloodied and barefoot Mann stood in the middle of the street. Her feet were cut from stepping on glass debris.

I never expected in my neighborhood that this kind of thing could happen, she said.

Mann has lived on Aleksander Boulevard since moving to the area in 2004. A Philadelphia native, she became a doctor and then entered the U.S. Air Force. Following her military service, she moved to the area and worked in the emergency room of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for several years prior to her current job in Hazleton.

Mann said instincts kicked in Friday.

I feel like I just did what I was born and trained to do. I always felt my whole life I was born to be a physician and trained to be a healer, Mann said. The only difference that is unusual with this is when you are in the ER, you are in that mind-set, you expect to see sick people. But when you are home, you dont expect that. I had to go from, Oh, Im resting to Youre an ER doctor. Go!

It was the first time her sons got to see her in action. One of them told her it was life-changing to him.

He said, Mom, I never had the thought of being a doctor until today, she recalled. That was so profound.

The night before the incident, Mann worked 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. She arrived home around 8 a.m. Friday to take a nap. She was up relaxing in her den when the crash occurred around 1 p.m.

She had Friday off, but had a full days worth of errands and tasks planned and wasnt expecting to be home much, she said.

My schedule is all over the place. Its hit or miss if Im home. When I am off, I am in and out all day, Mann said. I had a whole list of stuff I had to get done. For me to be home, it was nothing short of a miracle. It makes you wonder.

Contact the writer: bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2055; @cvbobkal

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ER doc resting at home when car plowed into 7 people – Standard Speaker

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Hospital eyes emergency room expansion – Republican Journal

By Ben Holbrook | Aug 12, 2017

Belfast Representatives from Waldo County General Hospital unveiled plans Aug. 9 to expand the emergency department and add new parking behind the Biscone Medical Building.

The 4,500-square-foot expansion will allow an increase in the number of available beds, to 15 from the current 10, and provide designated treatment rooms, Craig Piper, of SMRT Architects, said. Currently, the beds are screened with privacy curtains.

Of the 15 rooms that will be created, two are designated for trauma patients, two for behavioral health patients, one will serve as an isolation room and another for gynecology exams, Piper said.

Another elevator also will be installed to move patients from the ER to other areas of the hospital. Piper said the new elevator will provide more privacy for patients because they wont have to use the public elevators closer to the main entrance of the hospital.

The expansion will eliminate 24 parking spaces in front of the hospital, and an existing two-way entrance and exit from Fahy Street will be changed to a one-way entrance, Piper said.

Hospital representatives said the expansion is not being done because the hospital expects an increase in the number of patients being treated. Rather, the project will bring the emergency department into line with current hospital standards and provide better care for the existing patient population.

In conjunction with the expansion, the hospital seeks to add 70 parking spaces behind Biscone Medical Building. The spaces primarily will be used for employee parking but will also be available to the public.

Before any work can begin, the hospital must obtain permits from Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corps of Engineers. Piper said it typically takes about three months to obtain those permits and hospital officials are hopeful work will begin by November. However, any delays in receiving permits or inclement weather could push back the construction start date.

In that event, the expansion and parking lot work would likely not begin until the spring.

No comments for or against the project were offered during a brief public hearing. City Planner Wayne Marshall noted the city did not receive any comments about the proposed work before Wednesdays review.

Planning Board members were largely in favor of the plans presented, but some members did request additional information detailing pedestrian traffic flow.

The Board accepted the preliminary plan as complete and hospital officials said they anticipate presenting a finalized plan in September.

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Hospital eyes emergency room expansion – Republican Journal

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