Jackson County hospitals met the challenge brought by Katrina

Jackson County hospitals met the challenge brought by Katrina
(Photo Source: WLOX)
(Photo Source: WLOX)
(Photo Source: WLOX)
(Photo Source: WLOX)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - On Wednesday, both Singing River and Ocean Springs hospitals were clean, bright and shiny. But on August 29, 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, it had a completely different look.  However — the doors remained open.

"People that were displaced from their homes, people who didn't have any house left, didn't have any food left and didn't know where to go. And they came to us for help and wanting to know what do we do next," said Kim Gutherz, patient care coordinator.

Current CEO Kevin Holland says the days during the storm were trying times.

"Over half our staff and physicians lost everything they owned, but they were here taking care of their neighbors and this community before, during and after the storm. And that was truly an act of heroic effort," Holland explained.

Despite obstacles, patient care manager David Higdon says Katrina made Singing River Health System even better.

"So have re-looked at all our plans, which we do on an annual basis and looked at all those things that could have been done better and we are now much, much better prepared," Higdon explained.

Usually at hospitals, before patients are admitted, all the t's are crossed and all the i's are dotted. In the hours and days after Katrina at Singing River Health System, all of that went out the window, according to Holland.

"You don't worry about administrative stuff. You take care of your staff, and you staff takes care of patients," noted Holland. "And that's the mode we were in for quite awhile after Katrina."

Since Katrina, much of Singing River Hospital has undergone extensive renovations, and a new patient care tower has been built at Ocean Springs Hospital.

Wednesday night, WLOX News is airing a special focused entirely on Life Beyond Katrina, and taking a look at how far our coast has come in the last decade.

Tune in at 7 on WLOX ABC, or catch the hour special on Saturday at 10:35 p.m. on WLOX CBS.

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