Memorial Hospital of New Orleans during Katrina The storm was predicted, on Friday August 26th, to hit New Orleans and the surrounding area, by 8 pm on Monday. Saturday, August 27th Louisiana declared a disaster and voluntary evacuations. Governor Blanco sends a letter to President Bush asking for supplementary Federal assistance. 2 FEMA teams were sent to the area but given 48 hours to get there. Max Mayfield of National Hurricane Center warms that evening to evacuate New Orleans and Katrina is upgraded to a level 5. Monday, August 29th, 2005 Katrina comes ashore in Lousiana at 6:10 AM.
7:02 AM the pumps in New Orleans fail. 10:40 am there is a storm surge in Biloxi at 22 feet and at 11:15 the levee in New Orleans is breached, by 11:40 am the flooding in the East Bank was waist deep. The 17th street levee was then breached and flooding began getting much worse. This paper will discuss what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans as the waters rose and discuss the ethical side of some of the decisions that were made during this disaster. Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans Sits in a low point in the bowl that is New Orleans.
It is South of the French Quarter and about three feet below sea level. It has been a very well know and very well respected medical center in the city of New Orleans for some time. (Fink, 2009). It is a large sprawling hospital that spans across a large part of the local neighborhoods. It is surrounded by shotgun houses and a short walk from upper class homes. It was purchased by Tenet Healthcare in 1995 and before that was a Baptist hospital. It had survived many hurricanes and actually had served as a refuge to those in the area through many of previous hurricanes (Johnson, 2005).
When Katrina hit, there were 2000 people in Memorial Medical Center including those that had come from the neighborhoods for safety. There were 200 patients and 600 healthcare workers. The hospital took a major buffeting from the storm with broken windows and high winds. Patients, families and staff alike were very frightened. Tuesday August 30th 4:55 A. M. Tuesday August 30th. City power shuts off to the hospital. The bottom floors and parking garage are flooded. Supplies are moved upstairs. However, the generator kicks on and powers ventilators and emergency lights but the air conditions shuts down.
08:00 A. M. Sewer water is pouring out of grates and is surrounding the hospital as well as moving toward the hospital in large pools due to it sitting so low in the bowl. (Fink, 2009). 12:28 P. M. The administrator at Memorial called Tenet for help and is told that the State and Federal Governments are working together on a rescue mission and they will get there soon. Every one feels better. The staff starts a triage system, determining how patients will leave the hospital. They, for example, determine that mothers and babies will go first and DNR patients will go last.
The DNR determination was made because it is believed by the physicians that those patients who are DNR would not want to be saved at the expense of other patients. There is an LTAC on the 7th floor with critical ventilated patients. They are not included in the planning stage. Life Care had 52 patients most of which were bedbound and many on ventilators. 15:30 P. M. helicopters from the Coast Guard begin landing on a precarious site to attempt evacuation which is very difficult and dangerous for the staff. Many of the sickest patients died just getting to the helicopters. Lifecare patients were not yet evacuated.