Intended for healthcare professionals


Health care in the eye of the storm

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 08 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:582
  1. Hector O Ventura, cardiologist (
  1. Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, USA

    I have been working as a physician in New Orleans for 25 years and have faced many hurricanes. On most occasions it was just a huge nuisance—you either had to leave town or stay in the hospital. The next day you would go back to work and to a normal life in the “Big Easy.” Over the years I have continually heard about the hurricane that would be like no other, the one that would destroy and flood our wonderful city.

    We tried to keep cool by placing fans and water bottles everywhere that we could

    It was Friday 26 August when the news about hurricane Katrina became alarming. She was heading for New Orleans and people had to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Planning started. People left town, and the few who stayed at our hospital were the ones considered essential personnel, those needed to work during and after the storm.

    I was on duty, and therefore, …

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