Valley Nurses Help Save Lives During Hurricane Harvey

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MCALLEN – A total of six nurses from the McAllen Medical Center and South Texas Health Systems set off on their humanitarian mission last week. Now they're back with important advice for anyone else who helped out in the floods.

The atmosphere for these nurses working in the emergency room and intensive care unit changed as they approached Hurricane Harvey disaster sites.

Registered nurse Patricia Rodriguez was the first to deploy and tread through the flooded waters.

A picture she provided CHANNEL 5 NEWS shows Rodriguez helping an elderly woman being rescued from her home.

"She was bed bound, had been alone for about three days in her house and nobody could get in or out because it was high, like chest-high,” said Rodriguez.

Other nurses were quick to join. Registered nurse and U.S. Air Force veteran Jamaila Saenz and Brian Scar helped set up medical mobile units. 

“Initially, when we showed up on scene it was one nurse and paramedics and they were taking care of all the patients,” said Saenz. 

She said the number of patients doubled.

“The grand total, if I'm not mistaken, was somewhere around 1,300 patients. And I think for example, our emergency room here an established emergency room fully staffed, our record is somewhere around 40 patients a day. Our first day in this mobile medical unit we saw 160 and that number only went up,” said Scar. 

Saenz and Scar provided thousands with tetanus shots. They even treated one man suffering from a heart attack.

"He would have died and there's no doubt about it. We were the only facility in the area that had access to the kinds of things he needed,” said Scar.

Nurses suggest you double check your health if you're coming back from damaged or flooded areas. 

“They should because, you know, there's water going in to certain cavities in your body that shouldn't be going into and obviously some infections can occur."

Rodriguez said this experience taught her to become more prepared, just in case a disaster hits the Rio Grande Valley.


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