The Newsroom • Published Tuesday, Jul. 25, 2006, 2:30 PM
ModernHealthcare.com (Internet) 07/25/06 As for lessons learned, Katrina provides many. Three weeks after Katrina hit, the staff at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston had to prepare for a possible evacuation as Hurricane Rita approached. Karen Sexton, vice president and chief executive officer of hospitals and clinics at UTMB, decided to evacuate the hospital's 427 patients -- the first evacuation in the hospital's 114-year history. Learning from Katrina, Sexton modified the hospital's traditional evacuation plan to move out the sickest patients first. To prepare, Sexton asked nurses to stay overnight to copy patient records, which accompanied each patient who was evacuated. Physicians and nurses were at the bedsides of patients to determine how each patient would leave (by air or by ground), and how long it would take to transport them. Though the storm bypassed the area, the evacuation was deemed a success, with no patient deaths.