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Health Care District’s Medical Staff Mobilizes to Care for Bahamian Storm Evacuees

Crowd around the mobile health clinicOne by one, 1,500 Bahamian survivors of Hurricane Dorian stepped off a cruise ship at the Port of Palm Beach with little more than the clothes on their backs.  Many of them, including children, needed immediate medical attention.  Over 20 Health Care District of Palm Beach County staff members, including six physicians, were waiting at the port on Saturday with the District’s Mobile Health Clinic, stocked with equipment, supplies and medicine to serve those in need.

“In several cases, we were escorting patients directly from the ship to triage,” said Belma Andrić, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, VP and Executive Director of Clinical Services, of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. “Diabetics had been without insulin for days. Bahamian evacuee being treatedSeveral pregnant women were in urgent need of OB/GYN care. These people had been through a horrific experience and many were in desperate condition.”

At least six people were transported to the hospital by paramedics.  Staff with the District’s C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics, as well as Family Medical Residents with Lakeside Medical Center, the District’s rural teaching hospital, provided 60 storm victims with primary care, OB/GYN services, prescriptions and grief counseling.

“We heard horrific stories of survival, loss of loved ones and near-death situations that they endured. We cried with them and held their hands,” Andrić said.

Dr. Belma Andric talking to an evacueeDistrict staff and physicians worked in sweltering conditions throughout the day to provide evacuees with a range of medical care, behavioral health services and prescription medication.
“Many of the supply kits we brought in the Mobile Health Clinic came straight from the county’s emergency shelters where our School Nurses worked during the storm,” noted Darcy J. Davis, the Health Care District’s Chief Executive Officer. “As the county’s health care safety net, we are at the ready for situations like this whenever the need arises.  I’m so proud of how quickly and professionally our staff and physicians responded.”

District staff in front of the mobile health clinic




For more on this story, listen to the report that aired on WLRN radio: