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It's the Water, Not the Wind

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Vincent Valentine, MD
University of Alabama Birmingham
Birmingham, AL, USA

links imageWe can all remember Hurricane Katrina that rocked the Gulf Coast in August 2005. With winds nearly 125 mph and a category 3 rating, the storm brought catastrophic damage as predicted. Massive flooding caused many families to be relocated leaving their homes, jobs, friends -life-behind. There was a record of over 1,800 deaths from lack of food, water and medical care. Despite this tragedy, many were unprepared for the sudden blow of Hurricane Harvey that hit over 6 million people in Houston, Texas August 2017, exactly 12 years later. This category 4 Hurricane was conceived in the largest medical industrial complex in the United States, yet the response to rescue and assessment of medical practice has been thunderstruck.

Many patients are unprepared for the treatment and diagnosis they receive when they enter a hospital. For patients, the circumstance can spring up like a hurricane causing a downpour of worry and uncertainty. So, how do you prepare for the unpredictable?

With practice and experience, it is the clinician's responsibility to detect and determine a patient's management and treatment of care. Additionally, they prepare for the unpredictable by caring for patients with high risks and complex diseases. As clinicians, we must know how to care for our patients in the hospital as well as in the eye of the storm. Like astronomers Copernicus and Kepler, we must learn in a trajectory that allows our experiences to grasp reality and the future. As clinicians, we have to be in the know, and prepared for the unthinkable.

Like a recent solar eclipse, this cataclysm too shall pass. But for me another scar from a hurricane.

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars." - Khalil Gibran ■

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