|| DukeMedNews || Duke University Health System’s Response to Hurricane Katrina

Duke to Staff Second Field Hospital in Mississippi

The National Institutes of Health has asked Duke Medicine to help staff one of 40 field hospitals being set up in response to last week’s disaster.

Duke Aids State Effort to Establish Emergency Field Hospital in Louisiana

The Duke Regional Advisory Committee (RAC)’s State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT), coordinated by the Duke Trauma Center, deployed at 6 a.m. this morning from Durham Regional Hospital.

Duke News Tip: Emergency Drug Refills for Hurricane Evacuees

Hurricane evacuees whose medication supplies are dwindling can obtain emergency refills from most pharmacies, according to pharmacy experts at Duke University Medical Center.



The following memo was sent on Sept. 6 to the Duke Medicine community from Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO, Duke University Health System, and William J. Fulkerson, MD, MBA, CEO, Duke University Hospital and vice president for acute care, Duke University Health System:

The National Institutes of Health has called on Duke Medicine to lend support in the disaster relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We have been asked to provide staffing for one of 40 field hospitals being set up in response to the disaster, and we are prepared to answer that call.

Monday afternoon, about 20 doctors, nurses and other clinicians from Duke Medicine left for Meridian, Mississippi, to help staff a U.S. government field hospital being established at Key Air Field, a National Guard post. The Duke team will serve under the direction of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is the second medical relief effort in which Duke has been asked to participate.

At 3:00 P.M. Sunday, the first team of five nurses and technicians from Duke University Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital arrived in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, near Gulfport, as part of a larger contingent that brought a 100-bed mobile hospital to the stricken community. The Duke personnel are part of a 100-member medical team, drawn from hospitals and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies across North Carolina, that was dispatched to the disaster area Friday night.

A tragedy this great necessitates multifaceted action, and we are prepared to provide assistance here at home, within the walls of our own hospitals, and beyond. We are prepared to receive patients from the Gulf Coast. There is also a possibility that we will be asked to send more teams to staff field hospitals.

In preparation for possible, future deployments, if you are interested in volunteering for duty should Duke be asked to provide additional staffing, we ask that you register online at http://forms.dukehealth.org/dukehealth/gulf.nsf/Sub. At this time, we are seeking only clinician volunteers, such as physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, radiology technicians, etc. It is important to note that only employees who serve as part of Duke teams will receive pay and benefit coverage for assisting in relief efforts. Those who volunteer for disaster relief through other organizations (e.g., American Red Cross, church, etc.) will not be covered by applicable Duke and federal policies for pay and benefits coverage. Employees interested in volunteering should coordinate requests with their managers. Actual assignment will be made based on clinical requirements in the area of need, need to maintain clinical services at Duke as well as individual experience, preparedness and skills. Completion of this registration in no way guarantees that you will be deployed. If your particular skills are needed, we will contact you directly.

We are committed to working with federal agencies and our colleagues from throughout the nation, to provide care to those affected by this unprecedented event in our country’s history. By working together, we can alleviate some of the suffering that has resulted from this tragedy.

It is with the deepest sincerity that we wish to thank the many staff and faculty who worked tirelessly over the holiday weekend to make this effort happen so quickly. Specifically, we thank the 25 deployed clinicians for their unwavering dedication and willingness to serve during this unprecedented tragedy.



The following memo was sent on Sept. 1 to the Duke Medicine community from Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO, Duke University Health System, and William J. Fulkerson, MD, MBA, CEO, Duke University Hospital and vice president for acute care, Duke University Health System:

On behalf of the leadership team at Duke Medicine, we want to first thank everyone who has come forward to express their concerns about what is happening on the Gulf Coast. Not unexpectedly, many of our health care team have expressed a desire to participate in relief work for the thousands of people in need of medical care. However, as you can imagine a disaster of this magnitude requires much coordination at the local, regional and national levels. We’re pleased to report that it appears that the appropriate resources are now being marshaled and that there will soon be a good assessment of what needs to be done to help get needed medical care to the affected region.

We are working with federal and state officials and are prepared to participate fully in medical relief efforts in the affected area as well as to receive patients who might be med-evac’d to hospitals throughout North Carolina. Specifically, here is what we know to date:

At the Federal Level:

The Federal Disaster Coordinating Center in NC has been activated.

It is the intent of the federal government to evacuate 2,500 patients out of the state of Louisiana. FEMA regions 4 and 6 have been activated (we are in region 4) to prepare to possibly accept these patients

The ONLY action being taken at this time in NC is the daily reporting of bed status through the NCHA reporting system which we report to.

The placement of evacuated patients will be staggered and spread out across the state; NC is at the end of the list for placement.

The VA hospital in New Orleans is in the process of being fully evacuated and those patients will likely be absorbed by the VA system.

Duke Medicine has participated in a conference call with the Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt regarding the potential deployment of teams to field hospitals in the affected areas.

At the State/Local Level:

The Duke Regional Advisory Council (RAC) State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT) will deploy the first elements of its disaster team to the area Sept. 2-11. The Duke Medicine component of that team includes representatives from Duke Hospital, Durham Regional Hospital and Duke Health Raleigh Hospital.

The local American Red Cross chapter has indicated that there may be need for volunteers (especially to support “mass care” in the shelters). The Red Cross will begin offering free disaster training next week that is required before volunteers can travel to the Gulf Coast and must be taken in the following order:

–Thursday, September 8
9:00 a.m. to Noon — Introduction to Disaster Services
1:00 to 4:00 p.m. — Mass Care: An Overview

–Friday, September 9
9:00 to Noon — Shelter Operations
1:00 to 4:00 p.m. – Shelter Simulation

–Monday, September 12
2:30 to 4:30 p.m. – Going on a Disaster Assignment & Complete necessary paperwork.

Registration is required for all disaster training. To register, contact Blanche Hudon, Director of Volunteer Services with the Red Cross, at hudonb@usa.redcross.org. All classes will be held at the Red Cross Building at in 4737 University Drive in Durham, and participants may bring a bag lunch. Because relief efforts are still being organized, we do not know the exact number of volunteers needed at this time.

Because we anticipate receiving and caring for some patients here at Duke from the Gulf Coast area, Duke Medicine faculty and staff interested in becoming Red Cross disaster volunteers and traveling to the Gulf Coast should talk with their managers to request Paid Time Off (PTO).

Duke Medicine is collaborating with Duke University to coordinate medical relief efforts by faculty, staff and students for the Gulf Coast. A new website www.duke.edu/hurricanerelief/ is being developed to provide updated information on Duke University efforts and ways community members can offer assistance.

Of course, the way that everyone at Duke Medicine can participate in helping the residents along the is by contributing to the many service organizations that are working tirelessly to get much needed supplies to the affected region. Listed below are some of the agencies that you might want to consider donating to.

Red Cross redcross.org phone: 1-800-HELP-NOW
MAIL: Make checks payable to Central North Carolina Chapter
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 52509,
Durham 27717-2509


American Red Cross
100 North Peartree Lane
Raleigh, NC 27610

The Red Cross is also asking for additional blood donations.

Salvation Army www.salvationarmyusa.org
phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Checks: send checks, earmarked ‘disaster relief’ to
P.O. Box 4857
Jackson, MS 39296-4857

FOODBANK of Central & Eastern North Carolina is accepting paper goods, single-serving snacks, cleaning supplies, peanut butter, single-serving meals that do not require refrigeration. Drop offs are at:
708 Gilbert Street, Durham (956-2513)
3808 Tarheel Drive, Raleigh (875-0707)

HELPING HANDS — A local organization is collecting gloves, shovels, water, toiletries and nonperishable foods to be taken into disaster areas. Donations may be dropped off at:
Helping Hand Mission
623 Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh through September 5.
Call 829-8048 for more info.

Lastly, many of you have inquired about the status of health care services in the affected region. The Healthcare Advisory Board released the attached information, but obviously, this is a very fluid situation and circumstances continue to change. We will keep you apprised of how Duke Medicine and you can help. Thank you for your concern.



The following memo was sent on Aug. 31 to the Duke Medicine community from Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO, Duke University Health System:

Our hearts go out to those who live, work and study along the Gulf Coast as we watch with dismay the absolute devastation from Hurricane Katrina. I know you join me in wanting to help those whose lives have been disrupted by the disaster. We have been in contact with the major national relief agencies and not unexpectedly, they are urging that the public make cash contributions which they can disperse where the needs are greatest.

The Federal Disaster Coordinating Center in NC has been activated, which means that hospitals (including those in our health system) across NC could possibly receive some of the 2,500 people in Louisiana alone who are in need of medical attention. Duke Medicine is also prepared to send a team of health care professionals to Louisiana as part of the State Medical Assistance Team. The team, which includes representatives from Duke Hospital, Durham Regional Hospital, and Duke Health Raleigh Hospital, is prepared to leave as early as Friday to assist in setting up a field hospital outside of New Orleans.

I know that the university is considering how best to coordinate many outreach efforts to support those affected by the hurricane and we will work closely with these plans as they develop.

For those of you who have family and friends in the affected areas, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones during this difficult time. I urge every member of the Duke Medicine family to do what you can to help those whose lives have been so disrupted by this disaster.

We will keep you apprised during the coming days and weeks about our efforts to help our neighbors to the South.