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Hospital Decision Making in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: The Case of New Orleans

L.A. Arendt and D.B. Hess

MCEER-06-SP01 | 1/6/2006 | 84 pages

About the Report:

TOC: The table of contents is provided.

Notes: This report can be downloaded in PDF format from here.

Keywords: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, LA, August 29, 2005. Reconnaissance reports. Hospitals. Decision-making. Emergency responses. Disaster preparedness. Interviews. Acute care facilities. Floods. Evacuation. Worst-case scenarios. Natural disasters. Emergency management planning. Occupancy. Transportation. Self-sufficiency. Communication. Networks. Regional planning. Assistance. Access issues.

Abstract: This study presents the findings from the field reconnaissance mission that examined New Orleans hospital decision-making as it related to disaster preparedness and emergency response before, during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Firsthand observations and interviews, and review and interpretation of archival news and Internet materials revealed how fifteen acute care facilities responded to the hurricane’s onset and the subsequent flooding. While some elected to remain open, others evacuated; preparations for reopening after flooding varied as well. Concluding remarks suggest for hospitals throughout the country to imagine the worst-case emergency or disaster scenarios, and consider how they would deal with a “one-two punch” combination of disasters. Many color images depict damages sustained to the facilities. References are provided.