Doctors and nurses from the U come home

By By Allie Schulte

By Allie Schulte

A group of 26 volunteers from the University Hospital returned Saturday from helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

The team of 11 physicians and 15 nurses met on Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. in the Moran Eye Center to discuss their experiences in Louisiana and what they learned from them.

“Good communication skills and command structure both had an effect on the efficiency of the rescue efforts,” Steven Bott, assistant professor of anesthesiology, said. “Hopefully now we will be better prepared if and when something like this ever happens here in Utah, or in surrounding areas.”

The team spent two weeks setting up makeshift hospitals in abandoned buildings and on the Louisiana State University campus providing services to victims and volunteers.

The most common medical problems dealt with in the clinics were rashes, mosquito bites and minor lacerations, Janet Angell, a resident nurse for U Hospital, said. Much of the effect on individuals was more emotional than physical.

“We deal with disaster regularly, but we have never seen it on such a large scale,” said Carrie O’Hara, also a resident nurse. “Our experience is usually limited to the loss of a single person, but these people have lost their entire lives.”

The team said that the experience influenced their outlook on life.

“We learned that, in the end, stuff is just stuff, but our relationships are what we keep with us,” O’Hara said.

Allie Schulte