hurricane katrina levied upon new orleans W r i t i n g
125 words each with 2 references
One: Most people have a vivid memory of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina levied upon New Orleans. While many of the problems were related to poor infrastructure at the site of the surge barriers, there were also health care institutions that were not ready for such a disaster. As reported by several outlets, scores of people did not survive their recovery in hospitals that lost power after this storm hit (Begley, 2012). Looking at this disaster in hindsight requires health leaders to ask numerous questions about preparedness. One question involves a risk versus reward query; is the money spent to be better prepared (i.e. through drills and exercises) worth the experience? A follow-up question would be, how do you defend the answer to this question from an ethical perspective? These questions are important to ask, because health managers during this downturn in resources, are looking for ways to reduce cost and improve margins. Disaster preparedness is an area that is unfortunately sometimes targeted for cost saving measures.
Being prepared for best practices in healthcare is a culture that exists from our health education systems to the way we operate our clinics and hospitals. No one wants to have a physician that is not adequately prepared to provide the best possible interventions; the public also expects that the healthcare system be adequately trained to respond when bad things happen. When people fail to plan and prepare for possible eventualities in life in general, they are often caught in circumstances that might have been avoided or better navigated. When it comes to emergency preparedness, the best way to make sure people are ready to respond and hospitals have the best practices in place is to utilize disaster drills. Having these exercises not only helps the staff feel self-confident and prepared, but they help identify gaps or areas of policy that need to be further explored. From a population health perspective, how we prepare and respond to disaster is one of the ways we can reduce the negative impact emergency responses (Khan et al., 2015). If we do not fund activities to respond to disasters, then do not be surprised when outcomes like the repose to hurricane Katrina continue to be repeated.
Many of the experts on this matter agree that the best practice for emergency preparedness is through drills and exercise. Among advice concerning triage and facilities preparation, one think tank Policy Medical (2020) mentions one of the best practices for disaster preparations in performing drills. When healthcare workers are not prepared to respond, they often become confused and are more prone to mistakes. Drills help establish the correct protocol and help eliminate simple conjecture and fear in the healthcare response. If we know the best practice for preparedness involves drills and exercises and we fail to fund those activities, are we providing care that can be considered beneficent or non-maleficent. Are we increasing our capacity to do more harm than good if we are not adequately prepared to respond to disaster? The answer to this question seems to be yes; the de-funding of disaster drills not only lessens our response in healthcare but has the potential to wrong others permanently. When we fail to prepare, it presents ethical concerns for public health and health professionals, especially those who would serve as first responders (Eckenwiler, 2004). Therefore, our response and our preparedness should be viewed through a lens of ethical practice.
Begley, S. (2012, November). Insight: Sandy Shows Hospitals Unprepared When Disaster Hits Home. Reuters. Retrieved from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org
Khan, Y., Fazli, G., Henry, B., de Villa, E., Tsamis, C., Grant, M., & Schwartz, B. (2015). The evidence base of primary research in public health emergency preparedness: a scoping review and stakeholder consultation. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 432. https://doi-org.saintleo.idm.oclc.org/10.1186/s128…
Policy Medical. (2020, October). Ways Hospitals can Prepare for Natural Disasters. Retrieved from
Reference: Eckenwiler, L. A. (2004). Ethical Issues in Emergency Preparedness and Response for Health Professionals. AMA Journal of Ethics, 6(5). doi:10.1001/virtualmentor.2004.6.5.msoc2-0405 Jennings, B., & Arras, J. D. (2016). Ethical Aspects of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. Emergency Ethics, 1-103. doi:10.1093/med/9780190270742.003.0002 Morrison, E., & Furlong, E. (2019). Health care ethics: Critical issues for the 21st century (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN-13: 978-1-284-12491-0
Eckenwiler, L. A. (2004). Ethical Issues in Emergency Preparedness and Response for Health Professionals. AMA Journal of Ethics, 6(5). doi:10.1001/virtualmentor.2004.6.5.msoc2-0405
Jennings, B., & Arras, J. D. (2016). Ethical Aspects of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. Emergency Ethics, 1-103. doi:10.1093/med/9780190270742.003.0002
Morrison, E., & Furlong, E. (2019). Health care ethics: Critical issues for the 21st century (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN-13: 978-1-284-12491-0