UVA Medical Volunteers Remember Katrina Aftermath

By: Jummy Olabanji Email
By: Jummy Olabanji Email

August 29, 2007

Since the hurricane many local people have chosen to spend time in the area, helping to rebuild.

A group from the University of Virginia Health System’s Remote Area Medical team has been to the gulf a number of times have assisted over 20,000 victims of the storm.

“These people really, really were without any type of health care. All prescription medicines, routine checkups, there were people that were having cardiac trouble that had no place to go, nobody that would see them,” said one nurse volunteer, Lynn Vitzthum.

Their first experience was working for a week out of a high school with no power.

They saw thousands who lost their jobs and their healthcare.

But just as the water took away the lives they had built, it didn't wash away their sense of hope.

“To just hear their stories, I think there was so much gained for us by listening, but the patients by having someone listen to the story about what had happened to them and their hope was that we would come back and tell their story to other people,” said Audrey Synder, another nurse.

Dr Ross Isaacs says even two years and thousands of dollars later; Katrina continues to rain down as a quiet storm.

“Even those the waters have receded, there’s still a storm out there in terms of health care crisis. As long as that storms there, it’s not myself, there’s a group of us here that will go. And we do it as a team. As long as that storms there, we will be there to take care of people, said Isaacs.


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