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What do EP\'s do during natural disasters?

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  • What do EP\'s do during natural disasters?

    This may be a really dumb question but I'm just a lowly M1.

    What do emergency physicians do during a natural disaster like Irma in Florida? I imagine that hospitals stay open but what if the hospital floods? Do people stay in their homes or do they stay in the hospital?

    Honestly what does any doctor do who has patients depending upon them?

  • #2
    I have a radiologist friend in SoFlo who is on call this weekend. He lives on the coast in an evacuation area, and he is camping out at the hospital for the weekend (and beyond, if necessary).

    I live in the Midwest, and hospitals often make accommodations for employees and docs here around winter storms, so they can stay overnight and make it to their shifts the next day.

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    • #3
      When I was still doing ob you stay at the hospital if you are on call.  I have walked in during snow storms.  You do what you have to do.

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      • #4
        As an emergency physician, you have a high level of obligation to your hospital and to your community.  When there is a severe snow storm you are expected to have a vehicle that will get you to the hospital, or you are expected to report early before the storm so you will be there to work.  We all do cover for one another though.  And the hospital will put you up for rest periods so you can just stay in the hospital and work as much as you are able with some periods of rest.

        In a hurricane, it can be a challenge when you have to decide between watching out for home and family or going in to work to help patients and disaster victims.  Generally speaking, some of us have to be there in the hospital to help. The good news is the hospitals are most often very well built to withstand severe storms, and they do have food and generator power to keep things working.  And they often will allow you to bring family to work with you and feed and house them until it is safe to return home.  Nevertheless, family usually wants to stay at home as it is more comfortable than the hospital, as long as it is safe to be at home.

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        • #5
          *distasteful attempt a joke removed*

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          • #6




            Thank you all for the informative responses. I find it very cool that I will one day have a job that is so important, I can’t evacuate from a storm because I need to prevent Darwinism from sorting out the people who have “Decided to ride it out.”

             
            Click to expand...


            I guess you're joking, but that's kind of an odd comment on many levels.

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            • #7




              Thank you all for the informative responses. I find it very cool that I will one day have a job that is so important, I can’t evacuate from a storm because I need to prevent Darwinism from sorting out the people who have “Decided to ride it out.”

               

              I am assuming overtime doesn’t exist for physicians right ?
              Click to expand...


              I agree with Donnie, kind of an odd/insensitive comment.

              I'm currently riding it out. Not doing it for a Darwin award.

              There are no commercial flights out. (I came close to pulling the trigger on a $25000 one way ride on a private jet but my husband had concerns about the safety of a small aircraft in this weather. To inject some finance here, we are happy we carry a large emergency fund in cash for this reason)

              Driving is not an option. One of the downsides of driving luxury cars: premium gas is hard to find and 1 tank doesn't get you as far as an economy family sedan. Good luck trying to find any type of gas along the evacuation route.

              Staying in our recently built home with solid cement block, hurricane windows, and high finished floor elevation (while not our initial desired plan) is the safest bet for us and our young family at this point in time.

              And no, it's not called overtime, it's called expected responsibility for physicians.

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              • #8
                I was playing off the fact that people should evacuate when they are told too

                 

                obviously nothing funny about a natural disaster and people getting hurt, bad joke...can happen to the best of us.

                 

                Guess it can come off like a god complex too which I didn't mean it too, was just trying to be funny, and failed

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                • #9
                  yeah Im really sorry if I can figure out how to delete the comment/ thread I would. I sincerely regret saying that. I wish you all the best and will pray for your safety.

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                  • #10
                    You can go back and edit the comment if you want.

                    I agree people should leave if they are told.  Some people can't evacuate.  For example, it would be very hard to mass evacuate critical patients in a hospital, especially if the evacuation area is widespread and covers many other hospitals.  Other emergency personal can't evacuate and may need medical attention. Even the ones that ride it out even when they could/should evacuate should be able to get medical care as long as there isn't much risk to those helping them.

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                    • #11
                      I deleted the comment but it is still there in the quoted responses--oh well.

                       

                      I didn't realize that it was so hard to get out, I honestly just thought you get in your car and leave, didn't realize that people can't leave because they can't get gas etc. etc. I haven't really been watching the news since I have started school, just been memorizing Biochem =/

                      There are also all the people who can't afford a car and have no where to go. It was distasteful and I didn't think it through or mean offense to anyone I was just trying to be funny.

                       

                      Obviously I believe everyone deserves to be taken care of otherwise I wouldn't be spending my Saturday nights memorizing the Urea cycle and I want to go into EM To help out in these types of situations.

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                      • #12
                        What do the electrophysiologist's do?

                        Ablate.

                        Map and ablate.

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                        • #13
                          Here is a great story written by a physician in Houston who worked through all the struggles of the hurricane.

                          https://www.doximity.com/doc_news/v2/entries/9090370

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                          • #14
                            I assume OP has never lived in an area with hurricanes and doesn't understand the difficult choices people have to make. While evacuating early is ideal, it's often not an option- in med school I couldn't leave our island until the school allowed us to go. Others have employers depending on them and can't just walk away from their job until the boss says it is ok. There is no such thing as disaster leave that will protect people who decide to leave early. Others cannot afford to go or are afraid to leave pets behind or have to stay because of their job ( hospital and government employees). But when a mandatory evacuation order has gone in to effect, then everyone has to leave at the same time. And logistically mass evacuation is a nightmare. In 2005, people were stranded on the highways in Houston for days (which is why they didn't evacuate Houston for Harvey) and it looks like the same thing will happen in FL now. Quite frankly it's probably safer for people to stay home than to ride out the storm on the highway. I pray they can get to safety.

                            I wouldn't judge the choices people make in these situations, especially if you've never been in their shoes.

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                            • #15




                              Here is a great story written by a physician in Houston who worked through all the struggles of the hurricane.

                              https://www.doximity.com/doc_news/v2/entries/9090370
                              Click to expand...


                              Very powerful article, thank you for sharing that. It is hard to fathom the magnitude of the situation unless you have been in it I suppose.

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