Disaster Relief: Health care and Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey Check-in

As we witnessed the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey's devastation this past week, I wanted to create a space for us to come together and share responses, reflections, or reactions. As health care practitioners and researchers, this event reveals the need for the work we all do. How is everyone? How do you see the events unfolding? How have you perceived the management of the crisis? 

Please use this opportunity to communicate your thoughts and experiences. 

Be well,

Dr. Ladd

Stephanie Holden's picture Stephanie Holden | August 31, 2017 7:36 pm MST

I reside in the DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth) area, but have lived between DFW and Houston area most of my life.  I began watching/tracking Hurricane Harvey on the Weather channel on Thursday 8/24.  Had much concern for my family, relatives and friends in Houston, especially my elderly father.  Also, I had planned travel to east Texas near Houston for Saturday 8/26.  Ultimately, due to possible flooding in the numerous small towns along my route, this led to my trip cancellation.

Over the next several days, from Friday 8/25 to Tuesday 8/29, my television was constantly tuned to the weather channel. Over time, it became quite depressing, even as I continued my daily routine.  I tried to travel to Houston, but quickly realized I would not be able to drive pass Huntsville, Texas, about 45 minutes north of Houston. I called my Dad each morning and evening for updates; from Saturday to Thursday. And, morning and evening texts checking on several friends and family members. I received text photos and videos of several streets that I have traveled numerous times. Fortunately and truly a blessing, only a small amount of water entered my Dad's home Saturday morning.  After Saturday, the rain continued, but no flooding in his neighborhood. However, one friend lost her home in the Spring area of Houston.

My Dad's cable service failed on Saturday, and expectedly, he seemed to become rather easily agitated. However, he seemed to look forward to our twice daily chats. Eventually, an old-fashion rabbit-ears antenna lead to more light-hearted conversations.

I believe there was no preparation that could have prepared the city or population of Houston for such an unprecedent hurricane model. Yet, many lessons should and will be learned. I believe rebuilding lives and the city will require much time, similar to the aftermaths of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In terms of healthcare and/or research, lessons can be learned in mental health areas, especially depression, across different groups, including first responders. Lived experiences is a growing research design in qualitative research. Healthcare organizational research studies can access and/or help improve internal emergency management, business continuity and training/development programs.

Thanks for providing a platform to share.

Stephanie Holden

Gina Rhodes's picture Gina Rhodes | September 5, 2017 12:57 pm MST

Stephanie:

You and your family are in our prayers. We too face the possibilities of the new Hurricane coming to our state ( Florida).  People are already a little more frantic than usual as we have survived many hurricanes in our area over the years.  Sometimes we stayed and other times we evacuated.  The stores in my area are already out of bottled water and gas lines are piling up at the gas stations.  I think the recent experiences in Houston has everyone starting early for preparations.  I do not watch the news, my husband keeps me infomed and I am trying to concentrate on my studies. Take care. We Rise  Gina 

Walker Ladd's picture Walker Ladd | September 5, 2017 1:42 pm MST

Hi, Gina,

We so rise. 

Walker Ladd's picture Walker Ladd | August 31, 2017 8:14 pm MST

Hi Stephanie,

I am so glad your father is ok. Your experience reflects so much of the constant state of alert we experience during these events. Watching the news and waiting for the next development must have been frightening and stressful, to say the least. 

While we don't have models to predict or measure these events, I found myself angry about the cutbacks at the EPA, the cutting of funding to climate-based research, and the deregulation of environmental regulations initiated by our current administration. Science is under its own erosion.

Please keep us updated, and take care of yourself as you have been under extreme stress. 

Be well,

Walker

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