A Week We Don't Want to Forget: Lessons Learned from Tulane

Bovender Jr., Jack O.; Carey, Bill
September 2006
Frontiers of Health Services Management;Fall2006, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p3
By the time I walked into the conference call at about 7 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3o, HCA's Tulane hospital was surrounded by between four and six feet of water, depending on the side of the building. The water was slowly rising. An estimated 1,300 people were trapped at Tulane Hospital. No CEO has ever had as much reason to be proud of his company as I did during the next few days. We safely evacuated Tulane's patients, staff members, and family members, coordinating more than zoo helicopter sorties to and from Tulane in the process. We transferred every patient to a waiting hospital and took nearly every staff and family member to an HCA-run shelter in Lafayette, Louisiana, where they were bathed, fed, inoculated, given shelter, given access to prepaid cellular phones, and sent where they needed to go. This, I believe, was one of HCA's greatest hours, but we also learned many lessons from the catastrophic event. Although we hope and pray that nothing like this ever happens again, the things we learned can be of use to the healthcare community at large.


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