Rita's coming-my hospital won't close!! - page 11

Need all of your input before possibly my last shift here today: My hospital is about 4-5 blocks from the gulf and right in the path of Rita which is currently 170-175 mph winds. They keep... Read More

  1. by   directcare4me
    I'm very glad to hear from you; glad you're OK. Also glad you evacuated, but sorry it was such a dreadful experience. It sounds like it actually was as bad as we were hearing on the news.

    It sounds to me like your head is on straight, that your priorities are in good order. Much good luck to you.
  2. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RN34TX
    I just got back.
    I did evacuate and this is why I wasn't able to answer Grannynurse's as well as the other poster's many questions and comments directed at me.
    I just finished reading the many posts to my thread and can't possibly remember everything asked of me so I wouldn't even know where to begin.
    I guess the big debate here is whether or not to evacuate and the moral obligations one takes on when entering the nursing profession.

    Grannynurse:
    Since you seem to object the most to my position and decision I'll at least address some of your comments that I can remember.
    Of course it wouldn't be wise for me to actually name the hospital where I work so please don't ask me to do so.
    But let me at least have a chance to say that everything said on TV and in the papers was not completely accurate so please keep that in mind when making comments about not relying on the OP (me) for the facts and instead look to other sources. I was here during this mess, you weren't.

    The hospital did not become an all volunteer staff until late thursday morning after my last post and I didn't want to take any precious time to update you all when I was trying to leave.
    Up until that time, yes, we were all forced to stay or be fired.
    I spoke to the administrator myself at that time as she was aware that I was intending to leave whether or not I'd be fired. It came straight from her that yes, indeed, at that moment, the entire hospital patient population had been evacuated. Stragglers were still trying to get into the ER some time later so I'm not sure what that was all about and really honestly can't answer the "3 remaining patients" question.
    I do know that at that time, ALL of the ICU's, including mine, and Med/Surg units were completely empty at the moment of my last post and this was confirmed by administration.
    The fire dept was also indeed gone at the time of my last post and the mayor herself stated on TV that it was a difficult decision to call them back to handle the fire situation.
    Why a young 30 year old would still have any business being there at that time to actually get burned to begin with and why you believe that we should be there for her during a cat. 5 is beyond me, but like you stated, maybe I just don't have the dedication that is appropriate for a nurse.

    But after what I experienced during Rita, I honestly don't care.

    After over 20 hours on the road and nearly running out of gas, watching car after car stalled on the side of the road, many with young babies, children, and elderly, while rescuing a co-worker who was also stalled on the road and thank God we were both stuck within 20 cars of each other and were able to figure it out, I've experienced plenty.
    I handed out water bottles to as many as I could without going completely dry myself and watched mothers ration 12oz water bottles to 4-5 kids.
    My partner is handy with auto repair and attempted to get cars back on the road but all too often it was something simple that he couldn't fix: No gas.
    The one gas station that I finally found that had gas was refusing to let people fill gas cans that were stuck often several miles back and made them walk all the way back to their cars in the 99 degree heat and push their cars all the way to the gas station for a place in line.
    I watched the local police write frivilous tickets and scream at people for minor traffic infractions while turning a blind eye to people jumping ahead in line for gas.
    I listened to the radio every minute promising gas trucks to deliver gas to stuck motorists over the interstates but I never saw one during my entire journey (300+ miles) to Dallas.
    The grand finale for us was by the time we were approaching the Dallas city limits early friday morning we witnessed a bus full of elderly evacuees burst into flames while people frantically attempted to pull them out of the burning vehicle on I-45.

    I could tell more stories but I think I've made my point.
    All I can say to you Grannynurse is this:
    Thank God that some firemen and ER staff decided to risk their lives for one foolish young woman who decided to ignore mandatory evacuation orders and save her from being burned to death.
    I'm sure that all of their spouses and children would understand if they lost their dads/spouses because it was so important to stay during an extemely dangerous storm to save the stragglers even though we were all told that we couldn't count on EMS/911 should anyone decide to stay.
    I do indeed feel a sense of responsibility to both my community as well as my chosen profession but I owe neither my life.
    I can sleep well at night knowing that I kept myself out of harm's way for the people in my life that I matter to, instead of throwing it away for strangers that didn't even care enough about themselves to evacuate to safety.

    Thank you all for your very interesting responses and a special thanks to those who supported my decision and/or knocked some sense into my head during my time of indecision.
    I'll never stay behind again for something like that. Nurse or no nurse.
    I am glad that you made it to Dallas. You did what you felt you had to do. And I would do what I felt I had to do, remain behind, if asked. This does not make me more a hero or a fool. It does not make me more committed or anyone else less committed. It is a matter of personal choice. And perhaps having a weakness for the well-being of those who do not care enough about themselves to evacuate.

    I have always had a weakness for the less forunate and the foolish.

    Grannynurse
  3. by   UM Review RN
    Rn34tx::icon_hug::icon_hug::icon_hug:
  4. by   RN34TX
    Quote from austin heart
    RN34TX, glad to hear that you and your partner are OK! Did your home suffer any damage?
    Some minor (yet still expensive and time consuming to fix) damage but nothing major that made my home uninhabitable.
    The important thing for me is that with a cat.5 headed straight toward us at that time, I had pretty much accepted the fact that I wouldn't have a home to come to when it was all said and done so I'm very greatful for the minor damage that occurred and even more greatful that no one here was hurt.
    More people got hurt and/or died trying to evacuate than anything else.
    I do have co-workers who have homes in and around the Beaumont area who lost everything and I can't imagine how awful that must be for them.

    I just hope that more stories begin to surface about people's experiences attempting to evacuate, particularly those who lost loved ones along the way from lack of water and medical care, because there must be a better way to get people to safety than that.
    Meanwhile Gov. Perry continues to pat himself on the back for "successfully" evacuating the nation's 4th largest city.
  5. by   sandiLa
    Glad you are safe and I don't blame you one bit. I'm not working right now but do know that a lot of nurse's at a hospital in Covington, LA lost their jobs because they left. I would have been in line behind them to get to my car. NO job is more important than YOU. It doesn't matter what line of work you are in. In our parish even the policemen were pulled off the roads and put inside a cement block building during the storm. I know my husband volunteers for them. Our parish was hit very hard by Katrina. We had no help at all here for at least 4 days after the storm. Winds in our town which is an hour northeast of New Orleans were measured at 165 m.p.h. with gust of 175 m.p.h. I never thought it would get that bad here. I thought once it hit land it would weaken, it didn't. I stayed home with my 11 year old son and am still having nightmares. At the height of it all we were on my bed because that was the only place I could think of that a tree couldn't reach if it fell on the house. My bed started shaking and our walls were creaking. I was watching the trees snap like toothpicks in my back yard and I prayed the entired time. I will never stay here through another storm, no matter how big or small. If I'm working and they call me in, I will refuse an if they fire me so be it. If they take my liscense that's fine too. My life is more important to me than my job. You can get another job. I refuse to be a hero in any situation. I have a child to raise and who will do that for me if I'm dead from staying behind? Oh and our parish wasn't under any evacuation orders at the time. We left 3 days after the storm and went to north MS. when it started getting bad here. Things are better since the National Guard and other military were brought in. They are still here. I don't wish this on anyone, even my worst enemy.

    I can't believe someone would criticize you for your decision. That's wrong, they aren't in your shoes, they don't know how you can handle that much stress added on top of the stress of your job. I feel that with some people staying to work in a situation like this can be more harmful than helpful.

    Good for you and sorry about your house.

    Sandy
  6. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from sandiLa
    Glad you are safe and I don't blame you one bit. I'm not working right now but do know that a lot of nurse's at a hospital in Covington, LA lost their jobs because they left. I would have been in line behind them to get to my car. NO job is more important than YOU. It doesn't matter what line of work you are in. In our parish even the policemen were pulled off the roads and put inside a cement block building during the storm. I know my husband volunteers for them. Our parish was hit very hard by Katrina. We had no help at all here for at least 4 days after the storm. Winds in our town which is an hour northeast of New Orleans were measured at 165 m.p.h. with gust of 175 m.p.h. I never thought it would get that bad here. I thought once it hit land it would weaken, it didn't. I stayed home with my 11 year old son and am still having nightmares. At the height of it all we were on my bed because that was the only place I could think of that a tree couldn't reach if it fell on the house. My bed started shaking and our walls were creaking. I was watching the trees snap like toothpicks in my back yard and I prayed the entired time. I will never stay here through another storm, no matter how big or small. If I'm working and they call me in, I will refuse an if they fire me so be it. If they take my liscense that's fine too. My life is more important to me than my job. You can get another job. I refuse to be a hero in any situation. I have a child to raise and who will do that for me if I'm dead from staying behind? Oh and our parish wasn't under any evacuation orders at the time. We left 3 days after the storm and went to north MS. when it started getting bad here. Things are better since the National Guard and other military were brought in. They are still here. I don't wish this on anyone, even my worst enemy.

    I can't believe someone would criticize you for your decision. That's wrong, they aren't in your shoes, they don't know how you can handle that much stress added on top of the stress of your job. I feel that with some people staying to work in a situation like this can be more harmful than helpful.

    Good for you and sorry about your house.

    Sandy
    It is policy for police officers, firemen and rescue squads to be pulled off the road when the winds reach so many MPH. Here, in Charlotte County, it is 40MPH. In others, the standard is 45MPH. The reason for this, is the instability of trucks and rescue squads in certain MPH winds.

    Grannynurse
  7. by   Celia M
    RN34TX, Thank God you are safe, I'm so glad you got out. You helped people on your way, and now you can go back and help in your community. You and your partner remain in my thoughts and prayers. It was so good to hear from you and know that you are safe. Celia
  8. by   boulergirl
    After seeing the evacuation lines and hearing about fistfights at the gas pumps, I decided that I ever have to go through an evacuation, I'm throwing a bike and a backpack into the backseat of my car. That way if the hurricane is getting too close and the interstate traffic ain't moving, I can abandon my car on the side of the road and use the bike. The backpack would hold food, water and ID while I race like heck.
  9. by   Esme12
    Quote from RN34TX
    I just got back.
    I did evacuate and this is why I wasn't able to answer Grannynurse's as well as the other poster's many questions and comments directed at me.
    I just finished reading the many posts to my thread and can't possibly remember everything asked of me so I wouldn't even know where to begin.
    I guess the big debate here is whether or not to evacuate and the moral obligations one takes on when entering the nursing profession.

    Grannynurse:
    Since you seem to object the most to my position and decision I'll at least address some of your comments that I can remember.
    Of course it wouldn't be wise for me to actually name the hospital where I work so please don't ask me to do so.
    But let me at least have a chance to say that everything said on TV and in the papers was not completely accurate so please keep that in mind when making comments about not relying on the OP (me) for the facts and instead look to other sources. I was here during this mess, you weren't.

    The hospital did not become an all volunteer staff until late thursday morning after my last post and I didn't want to take any precious time to update you all when I was trying to leave.
    Up until that time, yes, we were all forced to stay or be fired.
    I spoke to the administrator myself at that time as she was aware that I was intending to leave whether or not I'd be fired. It came straight from her that yes, indeed, at that moment, the entire hospital patient population had been evacuated. Stragglers were still trying to get into the ER some time later so I'm not sure what that was all about and really honestly can't answer the "3 remaining patients" question.
    I do know that at that time, ALL of the ICU's, including mine, and Med/Surg units were completely empty at the moment of my last post and this was confirmed by administration.
    The fire dept was also indeed gone at the time of my last post and the mayor herself stated on TV that it was a difficult decision to call them back to handle the fire situation.
    Why a young 30 year old would still have any business being there at that time to actually get burned to begin with and why you believe that we should be there for her during a cat. 5 is beyond me, but like you stated, maybe I just don't have the dedication that is appropriate for a nurse.

    But after what I experienced during Rita, I honestly don't care.

    After over 20 hours on the road and nearly running out of gas, watching car after car stalled on the side of the road, many with young babies, children, and elderly, while rescuing a co-worker who was also stalled on the road and thank God we were both stuck within 20 cars of each other and were able to figure it out, I've experienced plenty.
    I handed out water bottles to as many as I could without going completely dry myself and watched mothers ration 12oz water bottles to 4-5 kids.
    My partner is handy with auto repair and attempted to get cars back on the road but all too often it was something simple that he couldn't fix: No damn gas.
    The one gas station that I finally found that had gas was refusing to let people fill gas cans that were stuck often several miles back and made them walk all the way back to their cars in the 99 degree heat and push their cars all the way to the gas station for a place in line.
    I watched the local police write frivilous tickets and scream at people for minor traffic infractions while turning a blind eye to people jumping ahead in line for gas.
    I listened to the radio every minute promising gas trucks to deliver gas to stuck motorists over the interstates but I never saw one during my entire journey (300+ miles) to Dallas.
    The grand finale for us was by the time we were approaching the Dallas city limits early friday morning we witnessed a bus full of elderly evacuees burst into flames while people frantically attempted to pull them out of the burning vehicle on I-45.

    I could tell more stories but I think I've made my point.
    All I can say to you Grannynurse is this:
    Thank God that some firemen and ER staff decided to risk their lives for one foolish young woman who decided to ignore mandatory evacuation orders and save her from being burned to death.
    I'm sure that all of their spouses and children would understand if they lost their dads/spouses because it was so important to stay during an extemely dangerous storm to save the stragglers even though we were all told that we couldn't count on EMS/911 should anyone decide to stay.
    I do indeed feel a sense of responsibility to both my community as well as my chosen profession but I owe neither my life.
    I can sleep well at night knowing that I kept myself out of harm's way for the people in my life that I matter to, instead of throwing it away for strangers that didn't even care enough about themselves to evacuate to safety.

    Thank you all for your very interesting responses and a special thanks to those who supported my decision and/or knocked some sense into my head during my time of indecision.
    I'll never stay behind again for something like that. Nurse or no nurse.
    Hey Texas!!! I am so glad you both are all right. Material things can be replaced lives cannot be replecated nor replaced!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your partner still as the aftermath and repair is just as difficult. Remember you have all our support and prayers and I am sure if you needed anything we would find a way to get it there!!! Glad you both are OK and to hell with the hospital always remember if there aren't patients they can't be abandoned and if the fire department leaves go with them!!!! lost in boston
  10. by   Esme12
    Quote from boulergirl
    So basically those of us who are young tend to punk out and run when things get tough? What about the fact that I stayed for four days at my workplace during an icestorm? (BTW, we were using one of the retirement cottages to sleep since staff had to work in rotations, so we had to navigate an iced-over parking lot in order to do so.) We spring chickens are tougher than y'all think.
    I am amongst the first to tell Texas to bail out and I will tell you I am weel above 40!!!!!! NO patients easy decision. get out of dodge :redlight: patients make it more difficult but if i am home I stay there I ahve an 8 and 9 yo children that need ME!!!! iF i AMSTUCK AND WORK AND WILL DIE TRYING TO GET HOME OKAY i'LL STAY but risk my family by leaving to brave the elements???? I ahve been a critical care nurse for 25 years and have done my share as a trauma flight nurse...my choice. but I also do not have a wish to expidite my death and I am from the "old school" lost in boston
  11. by   RN34TX
    This was taken from today's Galveston Daily News. Of course they made it sound like the staff was free to leave once the last patient was evacuated but that was clearly not the case.
    The last patient left wednesday night and the staff was not given the option to evacuate until after 10:30 am thursday morning.
    And after asking around since returning, for once and for all, there were no 3 remaining patients here and I have no idea where that came from.


    In less than 12 hours, the medical center had moved 427 patients.
    "It was just short of a miracle," said Sexton.
    When the last patient had departed, everyone involved breathed a sigh of relief.
    "For a moment," Megna said, "we almost forgot about the hurricane."

    Evacuating the staff
    Soon, though, folks like Megna and Sexton began to realize that the medical center had a whole lot of staff members and not a single patient.
    "We needed every one of those employees when we were in the process of evacuating," Sexton said. "We didn't really need all of them once we had the patients safely on their way."

    Here's a link to the full story:

    http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?...e4effc8c5ad7a4
    Last edit by RN34TX on Oct 3, '05
  12. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RN34TX
    This was taken from today's Galveston Daily News. Of course they made it sound like the staff was free to leave once the last patient was evacuated but that was clearly not the case.
    The last patient left wednesday night and the staff was not given the option to evacuate until after 10:30 am thursday morning.
    And after asking around since returning, for once and for all, there were no 3 remaining patients here and I have no idea where that came from.


    In less than 12 hours, the medical center had moved 427 patients.
    "It was just short of a miracle," said Sexton.
    When the last patient had departed, everyone involved breathed a sigh of relief.
    "For a moment," Megna said, "we almost forgot about the hurricane."

    Evacuating the staff
    Soon, though, folks like Megna and Sexton began to realize that the medical center had a whole lot of staff members and not a single patient.
    "We needed every one of those employees when we were in the process of evacuating," Sexton said. "We didn't really need all of them once we had the patients safely on their way."

    Here's a link to the full story:

    http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?...e4effc8c5ad7a4
    It came from the Chief of ER Medicine. He stated there were still three patients remaining in the hospital, because they were too unstable to be evacuated. I saw his interview on national television.

    Grannynurse
  13. by   Namaste4All
    I am disaster responder and I have to say that there is difference between commitment and dedication and stoic stupidity. My parents are of the stoic kill yourself for the man / reputation/ whoever generation. It was a matter of pride that was force fed /taught and believed. Both my parents gave 200% throughout their lives and all they have to show for it are very broken bodies at rather young ages (57 and 60). I am the kind of person that runs into the disaster and starts taking care, but I dig that and my kid is grown and not needing me so much. In my DAT training and such there was always a re-ocurring idea that there is a difference between heroism and stupidity. If the hero gets himself killed with over dedication then the hero is useless. That goes without saying that every body has a part and has a pretty good feel for what part they are good at and to what level they can committ. There are always going to be people like grannynurse who will volunteer to stay, why would there be any need to try to force others? There really is a diference between stoic committment at all cost and self preservation followed by committment. They are both admirable we just have make sure that we are true to ourselves and act intelligently and it will all fall into place.

    Quote from Marie_LPN
    :smackingf A sense of committment is not a generational thing! It is an individual thing!

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