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MGH Response to Gulf Coast in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Update: September 29, 2005

IMSURT: Team returning home today through Saturday, Oct. 1.

Project HOPE: Team returning home today. Three employees will remain on board until Monday, October 10.

DMAT: One nurse remains stationed in Texas.

Operation Helping Hand: Organized by the Department of Health and Human Services; included 12 MGH clinicians who will return home Sunday, Oct. 2 -- they were stationed for two weeks in Baton Rouge, LA. MGH may need to deploy additional teams for mental health, primary care and nursing, to sustain continuity in shelter care.


Posted: September 9, 2005

As you may have heard, Massachusetts yesterday and early this morning received a limited number of Hurricane Katrina evacuees from the Gulf Coast, who have been housed temporarily at Camp Edwards at the Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. At this time, the MGH has not been asked to provide volunteers for this effort.

The hospital continues to support the DMAT, IMSuRT and Project HOPE teams that have been deployed to the affected region to help in the relief efforts.

Link to Hotline coverage of the response efforts


Posted: September 7, 2005

We continue to be enormously proud of and inspired by the incredible efforts that the MGH community is making to help the thousands of people whose lives have been uprooted by the devastation and destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Labor Day weekend proved to be a very busy and poignant time for many MGH staff members who have been - or will be - involved in disaster relief efforts. The outpouring of support and interest from every corner of this hospital in finding out both what we as an institution are doing and what we as individuals can do has truly been extraordinary.

The MGH has been in close touch with the major organizations that have been dealing with the medical aspects of this disaster, and many of our staff members are involved in several specific relief efforts.

Following is a list of MGH’s ongoing involvement in specific relief activities:

  • DMAT - Currently there are six members of the MGH community who have been working along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). MGH members of the DMAT, which was deployed Aug. 30, include two nurses, two social workers, one pharmacist and one security staff member.
  • IMSuRT - On Saturday, Sept. 3, FEMA activated the IMSuRT-East, which is headed by Susan Briggs, MD, an MGH trauma surgeon. Thirty-seven members of this team - 21 of them from the MGH - left Logan Airport Sunday and traveled to Baton Rouge to deliver care to hurricane victims.
  • Project HOPE - The Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort is heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, preparing to provide medical care to those affected by the storm. Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, and Larry Ronan, MD, MGH primary care physician and director of the Durant Fellowship Program, have been organizing MGH staff members who will deliver care on the ship. The first team, which will leave later this week for a two-week deployment, includes 22 nurses, two social workers, six physicians and one pharmacist. Karen Holland, RN, from the MGH Emergency Department, is serving as chief nurse for this mission and is already on the ship. A second group of MGHers is expected to leave Boston Sept. 26 for a similar two-week deployment.
  • The MGH has been working with state and local agencies and organizations as part of the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) to ensure that the collective Boston health care system is prepared to accept and provide services for any acutely ill patients from the hurricane zone who may be transported to the Boston area. While the plan for Massachusetts to receive 2,500 evacuees from the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast is currently on hold, should any people come to Otis we expect that they will not be in need of acute medical services and will go directly to Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod.
  • While we are uncertain at this point whether the Boston area will receive evacuees from the Gulf Coast who need more specific medical services, a plan is in place that calls for such patients to be flown directly to Logan Airport where they would be triaged and then transported to area hospitals. The MGH is one of many hospitals in Boston that would receive such patients. Like other hospitals in the area, the MGH has organized both adult and pediatric medical triage teams that could be sent to Logan Airport to help with the process. Ann Prestipino, senior vice president for Surgical and Anesthesia Services and Clinical Business Development and chair of the Emergency Management Preparedness Committee, and Maryfran Hughes, RN, nurse manager for the Emergency Department, have been working closely with state and local officials to coordinate this process.
  • The MGH Chaplaincy and Administration sponsored a healing service for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The MGH community was invited to gather together to show support for the many people who have experienced such tremendous loss in this horrific event.

We are thankful for the many people in this hospital who are playing an important role in the response to this unprecedented national disaster. The dedicated men and women of the MGH are demonstrating once again that this is an institution that stands ready to respond to any situation - at any time - with concern, compassion and care. We are truly proud to be a part of this extraordinary community.

Peter L. Slavin, MD
President, MGH

David F. Torchiana, MD
Chairman and CEO, MGPO