Nurses from New Jersey, New York, California and Massachusetts made their way to Bay Area Regional Medical Center in the days after impact to relieve staff to get much needed rest and to begin the process of cleanup and rebuilding.
Bay Area Regional employees weathered the storm at the hospital for many days. Most slept in the hospital because of massive, widespread flooding. "Some essential staff was rescued by boat and by large vehicles when the flooding first began," said Stephen K. Jones, Jr., CEO of Bay Area Regional Medical Center. "Thanks to many folks, we were able to rescue and transport many staff to the hospital. Many of whom had significant water damage to their homes and vehicles."
Nurses from New Jersey landed at Ellington Field August 31 and have spent time helping at the hospital and volunteering to demo nurses flooded homes along with volunteering at shelters.
"I am humbled and in awe at the generosity and positive attitudes the wonderful community and staff of Bay Area Regional Medical Center have expressed toward us in light of the hardship they have endured," said Brenda Lima-Mattessich, RN from AtlantiCare in New Jersey. "I worked 18-20 hours a day during Hurricane Sandy, so I know what the nurses here are going through. Everyone has embraced us with humbleness and grace."
Vanessa Jones, RN from Capital Health in New Jersey commented, "We came here to help and we are leaving with a sense of family and relationships that we will have for years to come."
Bay Area Regional was "designed to withstand a category five hurricane with 225 mph winds and designed with the future mind in strength, quality and state-of-the-art equipment," said Monzer Hourani, CEO of Medistar Corp. "While other hospitals had to evacuate or stop accepting patients, Bay Area Regional remained open and was unaffected structurally by the storm. In fact, the National Guard delivered patients to our hospital."
Relief efforts are still underway as the hospital welcomed nurses from Massachusetts on September 6 in the afternoon. "I am honored to have so many nurses from across the country ready to assist our staff in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey," said Jones, Jr. "We are truly blessed by each person who got on an airplane to come to the Houston Bay Area and lend a helping hand to our wonderful community."