Rising From the Ruins, Pt. 3


A year after Hurricane Katrina, devastated towns like Bay St. Louis are starting to rebuild, but what about the people? They were left with scars too. No one knows that better than the staff at the hospital there that treated the injured just after the storm.

Driving up to Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis, you'd never have a clue that a visitor named Katrina had checked in, but the proof is in the surveillance tape.

Video was taken as the hurricane assaulted the Mississippi coast. Floodwaters surged through the hospital's lobby and started filling the halls. It left little time to evacuate get patients to safety on the second floor.

The emergency room had an emergency of its own, a torrent throwing aside trash bins and furniture. When the water finally subsided, another wave hit the hospital.

"Like a wave of people, a sea. Have you ever seen day of the living dead like that?"

Dr. Knight remembers surgery on one patient performed after the power failed.

"A piece of sheet metal slashed him on the wrist. Dr. Anthony operated on him in this bed with a flashlight."

Dr. Knight says many patients told him of spouses carried away in the nearly 30 foot storm surge.

Knight said, "My wife slipped off. My husband slipped off, and they never saw them again."

A nurse in the ER lost her home and spent the next two weeks in cramped quarters.

Jennifer Duncan, Emergency Room nurse, said, "A horse trailer, it was me, my husband, and child, my uncle and his wife and their children."

She says even now a year later the storm is still taking a toll on some people

Nurse Duncan added, "A lot of those are still in FEMA campers, a lot of stress having to deal with the loss of loved ones and possessions."

Even the hospital itself is still in recovery. There were 104 beds available before Katrina. Just 25 are open now. The recovery process should be helped when FEMA funds come through, $20 million to fix the buildings and equipment, $13 million more to help move critical instruments to higher ground on the second floor.

There are still people dealing with things like anxiety attacks and stress a year later.

Friday we'll look at how this devastating storm brought some good with the bad.


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