Rita's coming-my hospital won't close!! - page 12

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   Namaste4All
    What is enough dedication to be a nurse? I don't remember getting the speech about losing my life or limb for my country. I do know that I am more help alive than dead though. If you are not certain that your facility is safe or if it will be under 20 feet of water in a matter of hours, then it's a matter of foolishness to stay, not dedication. The fire department and the military are the heros and they deemed it necessary to leave. You always have to go with your intuition, that's whay you have it. Staying in the eye of the storm is like asking a cop to walk into a shoot out without a helmet or bulet proof vest. Why ask him to do that when he can skirt the edge and take out the snypers from a safe distance and finish the job correclty. That's where the saying, "work smart, not hard (or to death in this case)," comes from.

    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.
  2. by   Cheyenne RN,BSHS
    This may sound callous, but after twenty plus years in nursing I have learned the hard way that when it comes to a hospitals reputation, money, or possible lawsuit, they will terminate a nurse in a second and not bat an eyelash.

    It would not matter if you had worked at the same place for 15 plus years or one year, and I have seen it happen to many a nursing friend. There is no "loyality" to what has become a harsh money making buisness. Nurses are just a needed item to keep the wheels in motion and no matter what we would like to think, individually we are all "expendable."

    Knowing that reality, I am not prepared to die, get beat up, hurt, or placed in a position of danger. The profession of nursing can be performed elsewhere at other hospitals, but I won't endanger my life for one.

    They may can fire me for leaving or calling in, but I'd rather be fired and safe with my family than dead.
  3. by   RN34TX
    Quote from grannynurse FNP student
    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
    I know what you mean now. There were actually 6 ICU from the beginning that were believed to be unable to take an evacuation. One patient was because of size (600+ pounds) and couldn't fit on the life flight but even he too eventually left, I believe by military flight, before wednesday night. That was not a current briefing from the chief.
    They all were gone by late wedesday night.
  4. by   mountain_rn
    Hindsight being 20/20, if the cops, fire department and nursing home owners are running like hell, then you should too!
  5. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RN34TX
    I know what you mean now. There were actually 6 ICU from the beginning that were believed to be unable to take an evacuation. One patient was because of size (600+ pounds) and couldn't fit on the life flight but even he too eventually left, I believe by military flight, before wednesday night. That was not a current briefing from the chief.
    They all were gone by late wedesday night.
    The physician was clearly identified as Chief of Emergency Medicine. And was interviewed live, late Wednesday evening. And he very clearly stated that three patients remained because they were too unstable to risk evacuation. He also stated that their families had been informed. You made your decision, you left. Please do not belittle those who choose to stay behind. They made their decision and I seriously doubt they are exoecting any praise for it.

    Grannynurse
  6. by   Celia M
    I have a feeling that this is one of those discussions that could go on forever and get more personal in the future. We should respect each others actions and opinions and get on with the healing that needs to take place after such a disaster. Everyone when faced with a situation must do what is right for them, and only they know what that is. I'm glad that RN34Tx is safe and I'm sure that many people have been touched Grannynurses dedication.
  7. by   RN34TX
    Quote from grannynurse FNP student
    The physician was clearly identified as Chief of Emergency Medicine. And was interviewed live, late Wednesday evening. And he very clearly stated that three patients remained because they were too unstable to risk evacuation. He also stated that their families had been informed. You made your decision, you left. Please do not belittle those who choose to stay behind. They made their decision and I seriously doubt they are exoecting any praise for it.

    Grannynurse
    How was I belittling anyone who chose to stay behind?
    Did I say anything negative about the remaining all volunteer staff?
    Are you not reading my posts?
    I was genuinely trying to put the pieces together when you kept on talking about these supposed 3 remaining patients.
    I came back from Dallas and asked EVERYONE I could find at work, because of you, that may have known about 3 remaining patients because none of the units that I helped evacuate had anyone remaining.
    Everyone that I asked, as well as the article in the Galveston paper that I just posted a link to, confirmed that the hospital had no remaining patients.

    In my last post, I said that the last patient was evacuated late wednesday night, which is exactly when you said that you saw live coverage from the ER Chief.
    Are you putting the pieces together now?

    For the record, it really makes no difference to me had there been 3 remaining patients, I still would have left and not looked back so I don't know why you're trying to insist that patients were still there.
    I only looked into this issue upon returning and commented on it here because you seemed so interested in it.

    If you are too unstable to tolerate an MICU ambulance ride to an inland hospital, the chances are slim that you are going to get out of the hospital alive anyway.
    Why put young healthy staff in danger to care for someone on their last legs on a vent through a major hurricane 4 blocks from the water?
    Had my own parents or grandparents been that unstable in ICU, I certainly wouldn't expect the staff to stay with them and put their own safety on the line for someone who's outcome was not looking good in the first place.

    That's called suicide, not nobility or a sense of duty as a nurse.
    I would have told them to put them on the ambulance, evacuate and just do the best you can.
    I would have told my parent/grandparent I love you, but you're going on the ambulance because I won't put an entire staffs lives on the line just because you might not survive the ride. No way.
  8. by   suzanne4
    I am glad to hear that you returned safely.
  9. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RN34TX
    How was I belittling anyone who chose to stay behind?
    Did I say anything negative about the remaining all volunteer staff?
    Are you not reading my posts?
    I was genuinely trying to put the pieces together when you kept on talking about these supposed 3 remaining patients.
    I came back from Dallas and asked EVERYONE I could find at work, because of you, that may have known about 3 remaining patients because none of the units that I helped evacuate had anyone remaining.
    Everyone that I asked, as well as the article in the Galveston paper that I just posted a link to, confirmed that the hospital had no remaining patients.

    In my last post, I said that the last patient was evacuated late wednesday night, which is exactly when you said that you saw live coverage from the ER Chief.
    Are you putting the pieces together now?

    For the record, it really makes no difference to me had there been 3 remaining patients, I still would have left and not looked back so I don't know why you're trying to insist that patients were still there.
    I only looked into this issue upon returning and commented on it here because you seemed so interested in it.

    If you are too unstable to tolerate an MICU ambulance ride to an inland hospital, the chances are slim that you are going to get out of the hospital alive anyway.
    Why put young healthy staff in danger to care for someone on their last legs on a vent through a major hurricane 4 blocks from the water?
    Had my own parents or grandparents been that unstable in ICU, I certainly wouldn't expect the staff to stay with them and put their own safety on the line for someone who's outcome was not looking good in the first place.

    That's called suicide, not nobility or a sense of duty as a nurse.
    I would have told them to put them on the ambulance, evacuate and just do the best you can.
    I would have told my parent/grandparent I love you, but you're going on the ambulance because I won't put an entire staffs lives on the line just because you might not survive the ride. No way.
    Like I said, the staff that remained behind made their decision, you made yours. And it apparently was good that some remained, to care for the burn patient that arrived on their doorstep.

    Grannynurse
  10. by   lee1
    Did I miss something? Was there any disciplinary action taken on your return to work or to ANY staff that had chosen to evacuate??? OR, were you just welcomed back and everyone was thankful that their experienced nurses were back alive and healthy???
    Was there ANY damage sustained to the hospital???

    I read of the 2 hospitals in New Orleans that need to be torn down because of extensive damage from the flooding and the diaries of those nurses/MDs that had stayed behind and were abandoned because the hospitals were not evacuted in time. Awful. I am sure there will be eventually many lawsuits brough forward by families whose loved ones that were not evacuted died and the pain/suffering endured that would have probably caused closure anyway.
  11. by   austin heart
    HMMMMMMM, it must be very hard having to know EVERYTHING and ALWAYS be right. I would think that it would be a burdon. Guess not.
  12. by   Esme12
    Quote from grannynurse FNP student
    Like I said, the staff that remained behind made their decision, you made yours. And it apparently was good that some remained, to care for the burn patient that arrived on their doorstep.

    Grannynurse
    The whole point of the original post was that they were trying to MAKE them stay!!!! I still want as my epitath that I am a loving daughter, devoted mother, adoring wife beloved sister:angel2: ......not that I died leaving my small children motherless because I was a devoted Nurse. Just to head the next statement off I am from the old school. I wore my white cap and my starched white dress nursing was not only a job but a vocation. BUt there are limits to even my tolerance! VOLUNTARY TO STAY... NOONE including the CNO cannot MAKE anyone risk their life....dangerous mission? even in the army they call for VOLUNTEERs. MY hearts go out to the nurses abandoned by their hospitals in New Orleans now they deserve a standing ovation .they were left and forgotten by their own hospitals but yet cared for the sick and dying.....they should be given the purple heart for bravery in face of abandonment and they stood up to the task....CUDOS!! glad you're home texas lost in boston
    Last edit by Nurse Ratched on Oct 7, '05 : Reason: TOS
  13. by   BeckyJN
    I was glancing through this thread and when I saw one of your comments I had to pause and say "huh?"
    "Why put young healthy staff in danger to care for someone on their last legs on a vent through a major hurricane 4 blocks from the water?
    Had my own parents or grandparents been that unstable in ICU, I certainly wouldn't expect the staff to stay with them and put their own safety on the line for someone who's outcome was not looking good in the first place."

    I work at one of the hospitals in Houston that the other ones evacuated to and we were supposed to have some of the nurses come with the patients that evacuated and none did. They just cut and ran, leaving our hospital overwhelmed with patients and underwhelmed with nurses. We would have sustained somewhat of a hit from the storm but not like the ones on the coast. However, we were made to stay and we were allowed to bring our families with us as the nurses from the evacuating hospitals would have. The big major hospitals can stand hurricane force winds and since Allison have better plans for flooding.
    Maybe you thought that us "older nurses" should be the ones to take the risk to go with the patients since we have nothing to lose? And would you like to have the ICU staff abandon their patients in their care to fend for themselves because the nurses have to think of their own needs only. (Isn't that what happened to the nursing home residents in Louisiana?) I have to wonder why some people got into nursing. The nursing home residents that were killed in the bus fire were sent off in the same manner. Where were their nurses? How would you have felt if that was your mama or daddy? By the way, I am 44 and I have children as well as grandchildren. I brought my family to stay with me in the hospital where I knew that they would be safe (and given the traffic situation, I'm glad I did). We were also overwhelmed with family members. We went from a hospital with 300 beds to taking on 900 people which included staff, family and patients.
    Secondly, we did have some nurses that didn't stay at our hospital and some others in the area. Some of them lost their jobs or were disciplined in one way or another.

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