Atlanta doctor remembers Hurricane Katrina -, GA News Weather & Sports

Atlanta doctor remembers Hurricane Katrina

Dr. Albert Barrocas Dr. Albert Barrocas

Doctor Albert Barrocas is the Chief Medical Officer at Atlanta Medical Center. Before Atlanta, Dr. Barrocas was working in New Orleans at Methodist Hospital as their Chief Medical Officer when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

"The drill is, you take clothes with you for about three days," Dr. Albert Barrocas said. "We were not expecting of course that we were going to be there almost five and half to six days."

Barrocas started working at Methodist Hospital in 1975. They had disaster plans in place but nothing could prepare them for Hurricane Katrina.

"We began to see implosions of some of the windows in our intensive care unit and other areas," Barrocas said. "We had patients that had to be moved away from the windows."

But then they were faced with other problems when the storm passed.

"By noon we already had four and a half feet of water in the lobby and the parking lot and that's how it remained until we left," Barrocas said.

A total of 760 people were in the hospital, including 170 patients. With no power, staff had to take over life saving measure that normally a machine would handle.

"We had to actually, mechanically by hand, ventilate those patients," Barrocas said. "We worked in teams of three because it was dark. So one was to relieve the other if need be. The other one was to have a flashlight to see how the patient is doing."

Help did finally arrive, airlifting patients and staff to safety. Dr. Barrocas was one of the very last to leave the hospital.

"I still remember the joy that we had," Barrocas said. "It was sort of a bitter sweet you know because I was wondering if we would ever be together again as a medical staff."

Ten years later they are coming together again for a reunion. He has helped coordinate this reunion in New Orleans. They are expecting more than 300 people from the Methodist Hospital staff to gather for the reunion.

Barrocas gets emotional thinking of seeing his friends again. He's excited to see them, but he knows time hasn't healed all their wounds.

"I get concerned and emotional about the people we left behind," Barrocas said. "Some of them have not recovered."

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