November-December 2019 | Volume 100, Number 6
BY: NATHANIEL BLANTON HIBNER, PhD
On Aug. 4, 2019, my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, became the second city in 24 hours to experience a mass shooter. Nine innocent lives were lost on the streets of the beautiful historic Oregon District — a neighborhood where I spent the first three years of my life and one that continues to hold an emotional connection to my family.
BY: ALEXANDER GARZA, MD
In his classic book Guns, Germs, and Steel
, Jared Diamond argues that the development of civilizations and their ascendency in the world was mostly influenced by geography, climate and access to natural resources, which gave greater protection from disease and improved the probability of succeeding. It was not by accident that Diamond included "guns" and "germs" as main characters in his book.
BY: LANCE MENDIOLA, MS, CHFM, CHSP, CBO
"Tell me what you need, and we'll get it there." For three-and-half weeks in 2017, I found myself saying that over and over as we orchestrated a massive response to Hurricane Harvey. It took a team of dedicated people to get us through the storm, which devastated so much of the state of Texas and affected so many of the communities we serve. It stretched our strength. It challenged our employees. And the millions of gallons of water that fell for days on vulnerable towns and cities in Southeast Texas really tested us all.
BY: DAVID LEWELLEN
Chaplain Mary Reichert was roused from her sleep when her phone rang around 2:30 a.m. on June 12, 2016. A gunman had opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub, and dozens of casualties were arriving at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she had finished a shift hours before. Extra chaplains were needed immediately.
BY: KAREN REICH, MSW, FACHE and CAMILLE GRIPPON, MA
We see daily examples in the news of disasters around the United States and elsewhere in the world. We further understand climate change is taking a toll on the earth. And disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires affect every aspect of providing health care. In the last two years alone, Catholic health care facilities have experienced major disasters in Florida, California and the Carolinas, just to name a few, and also have contended with responding to disasters in some international ministries like Mexico and Peru.
BY: JEFF MOSELY, PE
On the morning of July 10, 2019, the command center opens at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La. Tropical Storm Barry's journey across the Gulf of Mexico is varying in intensity and direction. The local weather coverage, a constant companion in the command center for the next four days, is predicting with more confidence that the storm will become a hurricane before landfall near Morgan City, La. The on-land projected route takes Hurricane Barry west of Baton Rouge by midday Saturday. More concerning is a projection of rain that could exceed 25 inches by the end of the weekend. At this point, our incident command center located in a room off the administrative offices has only partially activated the logistics and planning section chiefs, but that will soon change. An uneasiness begins to form in the incident command center as everyone there has been down this road several times before.
BY: BRIAN REARDON
A disaster situation calls for a consistent, coordinated and timely flow of information in order to give the greatest support to the response and recovery effort. The critical role of a hospital public information officer communicating accurate messages to internal audiences and the general public before, during and after a disaster is recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.1
To assist public information officers in their roles and to help them acquire practical knowledge, FEMA offers a series of free training courses and materials.
BY: DAVID G. ADDISS, MD, MPH
Compassion is never more important — or more difficult — than in disaster situations. Disasters trigger a deep sense of vulnerability. In the face of sudden, profound loss, we experience grief, disorientation and disbelief. All that we had leaned on and taken for granted is stripped away. Structures and routines that provided meaning no longer support us. In such moments, we depend on the compassion of others.
BY: KIM HOLLON, FACHE
Join me in a thought experiment: You are a railroad track operator with the job of pulling a manual lever to switch a train from one track to the other. A train is barreling toward disaster, but you can pull a switch to move it to a safer track. You aren't properly trained, and so you fail to do so. A number of people die as a result. It is easy to see in this straightforward example that the operator is at least partly at fault for the harm that results. In health care, when we fail to establish systems that protect our patients, it is less evident, but just as impactful.
BY: JARRETT KOLTHOFF, GCFA, CISSP
A true crisis facing health care in America stems from cyber criminals, who target the health care industry with greater frequency than any other sector of the economy. Protecting information is vital. Patients rely on the medical establishment not only for care, but for survival. The amount of sensitive personal data stored by America's medical establishment is vast.1
Combine this personal data with detailed financial information and you have a treasure trove of assets that can be easily marketed on the "dark net," (the portion of the internet not open to public view) in such a fashion that virtually anyone, anywhere can purchase them for a few cents per file.
BY: CARL MIDDLETON, DMin, MDiv, MA, MRE
Over the past several years natural disasters have been both expensive and deadly. In addition to natural disasters there have been acts of domestic terrorism in schools, churches, synagogues and mosques. In recognition of the significant and increasing effect that disasters can have on hospital care in the United States as well as on Catholic missions overseas, Catholic Health Association members gathered in the summer of 2018 for "When Disasters Strike: A Special Convening for International and Domestic Response," a forum for sharing insights and lessons learned. Participants and panelists with vast and varied experience discussed the numerous effects that Catholic health care should anticipate in a disaster.
BY: MARY L. HILL, BSN, MAHCM, JD
The image of a cross in the wood is a visual reminder of God's enduring promise, "I am with you." We first encounter the promise in the Book of Genesis when God called Abraham to leave his home, his relatives and his country to venture through foreign lands. In the face of Abraham's unknown future, God didn't promise familiarity; rather, God promised to be with
Abraham, guiding and blessing his journey toward founding the great nation of Israel.
BY: PAM FRANTA, PhD
Though I have not encountered the type of disasters that cause catastrophic damage or loss of life, I have learned profoundly from my own brushes with disaster. In January of 1977, my husband and I were traveling from St. Louis to Chicago after a funeral.
BY: RON HAMEL, PhD
In its 1920 inaugural issue, Hospital Progress
stated as its mission: "to become the medium through which the best thought and practice in hospital service to the sick will be worked into the lives of those who are consecrated to this service." Despite an ever-changing health care environment over the past 100 years, the journal now named Health Progress
has indeed communicated some of the best thought and practice on numerous facets of health care delivery in Catholic facilities. One of the ongoing areas of focus has been health care ethics. In fact, one of the earliest issues published the "Surgical Code for Catholic Hospitals for the Diocese of Detroit" which outlined acceptable and unacceptable surgical procedures from a Catholic ethical perspective. Since then, there have been hundreds if not thousands of articles and columns devoted to a vast range of ethical issues encountered in Catholic health care. To name just a few, these have included euthanasia and assisted-suicide, end-of-life care, reproductive matters, genetics, transplantation, environmental responsibility, organizational ethics issues, and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
(ERDs), the ethical code that provides moral guidance on aspects of health care delivery for Catholic health care facilities.