Impact Of Hurricane Katrina On The Healthcare System

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Background The impact of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in August 2005 had catastrophic implications to the healthcare infrastructure in portions of coastal and southern Mississippi, including hospitals being closed due to severe damage. The healthcare response system of the time relied almost exclusively on support resources from the federal government (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2010). By design, these teams were not able to support the local healthcare system for several days, leaving a void of services for the citizens that were hardest hit by the storm. Also during this time, the healthcare system of Mississippi faced several other critical challenges including the need for rapid assessment of impacted facilities, movement of patients between hospitals, and coordination of emergency medical services (Darsey, 2013). It is important to note that the disruption of the healthcare system resulted in challenges associated with a vulnerable population’s normal routine being severely disrupted. Additional complicating factors were a high incidence of exacerbation of chronic illnesses due to environmental conditions, loss of medications, emotional stressors, and other causes associated with the interruption of their normal level of care (Currier, King, Wofford, Daniel, & deShazo, 2006). These response challenges, coupled with the void in timely healthcare services, led to the creation of the State Medical Response System (SMRS) of Mississippi. SMRS Development The

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