This afternoon, Scottsdale Fire Captain Mike Norling returned from deployment in Lake Charles, La., where he had joined a team of medical professionals on Sept. 4, to assist after Hurricane Laura as part of the National Medical Disaster System.
The US Department of Health and Human Services sent the team at the request of the state to assist at Christus Oschsner St. Patrick’s Hospital to support the triage and treatment of patients after the hurricane. The hospital was one of three that received support, which also included Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital.
Norling, who is a paramedic, worked with the team in collaboration with local hospital staff to provide public health and medical services. The effort is designed to relieve the pressure on medical staff who work in the hospital’s emergency department. At each hospital, the base of operations was fully equipped to meet the needs of sick and injured patients. Any patients that required higher level of care or who were presumptive COVID-19 positive patients were cared for inside the hospital’s emergency department or transferred elsewhere.
Typically, after severe storms like Hurricane Laura the team will see people with carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, people with chronic health conditions that lost their equipment or medicine in the storm, and clean-up injuries (from chain saws or tree limbs).
Norling was deployed with approximately 35 healthcare providers from across the country to help St. Patrick’s safely care for patients as short-term surge support. These providers included nurses, physicians, physician assistants, paramedics, and pharmacists. The NMDS also deploys mental health, safety, logistics, and administrative specialists. Deployment is usually for 14 days.
NDMS is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.