August 31, 2005
HOUSTON - The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) is currently preparing to receive approximately 80 veteran inpatients from the New Orleans VA Medical Center. The New Orleans hospital was ordered closed yesterday because of flooding, water damage, and power outages caused by Hurricane Katrina. All 154 patients from the hospital are being evacuated to other VA medical facilities in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The patients from New Orleans are expected to arrive in Houston via military transport in the next 12 to 48 hours. Transportation logistics are complex and timeframes remain difficult to determine because of the enormous relief effort taking place along the devastated Gulf Coast area.
MEDVAMC preparations include activation of a Patient Reception Team to medically triage and in-process the incoming patients; acquisition of additional supplies, medications, and food; and coordination of beds, rooms, and staffing.
While some elective surgeries have been postponed at the MEDVAMC, all outpatient clinics will remain operational to ensure veterans have timely access to health care. Veterans are strongly encouraged to keep their scheduled appointments.
Community members, who wish to show their support for the displaced veterans, should contact MEDVAMC Voluntary Services by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about volunteer opportunities and donation needs.
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