Several hospitals have reopened in the New Orleans area since Hurricane Katrina, but health-care facilities are very limited and the number of staffed beds is estimated to be only a third of those available before the storm. Because of the shortages and the number of people returning to the city, the Department of Health and Human Services requested that Carolinas MED-1, developed under a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, be stationed in New Orleans for at least two weeks, perhaps longer. The unit has an emergency department, a two-bed operating room, four critical care beds, seven general care beds, and a dental chair.
A MED-1 crew of doctors, nurses, paramedics and support personnel will receive
help from medical specialists and personnel from New Orleans.
Help For Helpers
Alzheimer's expert and author Jo Huey will discuss "Caregiver Stress and the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina" during a free seminar for those who care for Alzheimer's patients at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) (5342 St. Charles Ave., 897-0143; www.nojcc.com). The talk is presented by Alzheimer's Services of the Crescent City (ASCC) and the JCC's Alzheimer's Care and Enrichment Program.
Huey, a certified gerontologist who also has a master of social science degree, is author of Alzheimer's Disease: Help and Hope, a book that provides caregivers with tips on how to cope. She founded the Alzheimer's Institute in 1999 and was director of Alzheimer's Residential Care Homes before Hurricane Katrina.
For more information about the seminar or ASCC, call Mary Anne Mushatt at
The LSU/Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (MCLNO) is opening a Level-1 Trauma Care center at Ochsner Clinic Foundation's Elmwood Hospital on Clearview Parkway in Jefferson that will operate through the end of the year.
Ochsner agreed to lease the space to replace the trauma facility at Charity Hospital that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The only other Level-1 Trauma Center in Louisiana at this time is an LSU-operated facility in Shreveport. Personnel from both LSU and Tulane will staff the new local center, which will include 40 critical-care beds and will serve trauma cases only. It will not include a walk-in emergency room or clinic.
Ochsner was among the three hospitals in the New Orleans area able to remain
open throughout Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. It currently has about
425 patients in its hospital and its doctors see about 170 patients in the emergency
room every day. The Medical Center of Louisiana has offered emergency medical
services in the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and an adult primary
care clinic near the Charity Hospital Campus.
Ochsner's Transplants Up
Organ transplants and referrals have more than doubled at Ochsner Clinic Foundation since Hurricane Katrina, with the majority of referrals coming from Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, according to Dr. George Loss, director of abdominal transplant at the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Center. Ochsner currently is the only transplant facility open in the New Orleans area. The facility delayed transplants for three weeks after Katrina, reopening Sept. 19, 2005.
Kidney transplants have risen 100 percent since the hurricane, with more than 35 operations performed by early February, Loss says. Referrals for liver transplants are up 77 percent, with more than two dozen performed since the center reopened; doctors also have performed a half-dozen heart transplants and several pancreas transplants.
The LSU Board of Supervisors last month named Dr. Larry H. Hollier, a vascular surgeon, chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) in New Orleans. He also is dean of LSUHSC's School of Medicine, a post he's held since Jan. 1, 2004. Hollier replaces acting Chancellor Dr. John Rock, who gave up the position to return to teaching and research.
Before joining the LSU faculty in 1974, the Crowley native and LSUHSC School of Medicine graduate, was president of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He also has been executive director of clinical affairs and chairman of surgery at Health Care International Ltd. in Glasgow, Scotland and held positions at Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School at the University of Minnesota and Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans.
He and other LSUHSC professionals recently secured the health science center's finances, which suffered a $50 million shortfall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, through the end of the fiscal year by obtaining $50 million in bridge funding from a federal social services block grant awarded to the state for hurricane relief.