Major progress made at UTMB-Galveston

September 29, 2008 7:20:57 PM PDT
There are big developments at Galveston's biggest hospital. Staff members at UTMB will move back into their emergency room Tuesday. But that doesn't mean doctors and nurses are ready to see you. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

In the ER at UTMB, you'll see huge air handlers, but it's cool and clean inside, not like the nurses left it.

"We're delighted to come back and have cool air. We're delighted to come back and have water and electricity and not have to run around with flashlights taking care of people," said Donna Graves, RN, with UTMB emergency services.

Graves and Wanda Taylor, RN, did a final check of the ER on Monday. They haven't been working there for the past two-and-a-half weeks. It's been run by medical volunteers with DMAT. Now, Wanda and Donna, along with the UTMB staff are taking over their ER on Tuesday.

"The staff is so looking forward to having it back," said Taylor. "We're ready."

They're excited, but fear patients will show up, thinking the hospital is back to normal, but it's not.

"We can take care of those life-threatening things and we're alright with the minor emergencies," said Dr. Brian Zachariah with UTMB. "Where we're not active as a regular emergency department is that we don't have the lab and the X-ray and the in-patient services and the specialty doctors."

To help UTMB with the big injuries, it now has two portable operating rooms, like those used in the military. A portable ICU arrived on Sunday and was put together Monday. If needed, they can use the portable operating room and the portable ICU on Tuesday.

"A lot of our staff lost their homes, had damage to their homes," said Dr. Zachariah. "We're trying to take care of each other like family, but even with that, a lot of them are really anxious to get back to work."

Seventeen UTMB clinics are open on the mainland. To see a list of the locations, click here.

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