Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Hurricane Katrina Affected 20,000 Physicians, Up To 6,000 May Have Been Displaced

Date:
September 28, 2005
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
Hurricane Katrina and the city-swamping floods that drowned New Orleans and surrounding areas in a toxic gumbo appear to have dislocated up to 5,944 active, patient-care physicians, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows. That is the largest single displacement of doctors in U.S. history, and Hurricane Rita over the weekend will have boosted the total to an unknown degree.

Related Articles


"Thenearly 6,000 is the approximate number of physicians doing primarilypatient care in the 10 counties and parishes in Louisiana andMississippi that have been directly affected by Katrina flooding," saidUNC’s Dr. Thomas C. Ricketts. "Over two-thirds -- 4,486 -- of thosewere in the three central New Orleans parishes that were evacuated."

Thenumber displaced also was more than one-quarter of the total number ofnew physicians who start practice in the United States each year, saidRicketts, deputy director for policy analysis at UNC’s Cecil G. ShepsCenter for Health Services Research and professor of health policy andadministration at the School of Public Health.

"A largeproportion of the practicing physicians in the area were also intraining in residency programs," he said. "In the immediatethree-parish New Orleans area, more than 1,270 residents physicianswere training at the time Katrina struck."

Ricketts, who alsodirects the Southeast Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies, ledthe analysis of data drawn from the March, 2005 American MedicalAssociation Masterfile of Physicians and FEMA-posted information. Healso used data from the American Association of Medical Colleges,Tulane and Louisiana State universities medical schools, the TexasBoard of Medicine and the state of Louisiana.

Of the physiciansin the Katrina flood-affected areas, which included six Louisiana andfour Mississippi counties or parishes, the majority, 2,952, werespecialists with 1,292 in primary care and 272 in obstetrics andgynecology, the researcher found.

The two New Orleans medicalschools at Tulane and LSU enrolled about 1,300 medical students in allyears in 2004, and those students have been moved to other programs inthe region, primarily to Baton Rouge and to east Texas, Ricketts said.Various agencies and organizations coordinated their relocation,including the AAMC, state and regional Area Health Education Centers(AHEC) programs in Texas and Louisiana and the Liaison Committee onGraduate Medical Education.

Another 2,052 physicians in 16Louisian parishes FEMA identified as being severely affected (Level 1Disaster Declaration). That included 144 residents in training as wellas 1,032 specialists, 724 primary care physicians and 140obstetrician-gynecologists. Doctors involved primarily inadministration, research or education were excluded from the total butnot those working for the federal government.

"We don’t know whatthis is going to mean to health care," Ricketts said. "We’ve never hadto deal with something like this before."

He said that not onlydid many practicing physicians lose their practices and income, butpractically all of the health records were destroyed in the communityhealth centers within the poorer neighborhoods of New Orleans.

"Reconstructing those records is really going to be extra difficult," he said.

Rickettssaid one possibly positive result of the disasters could be greatersupport for electronic medical records. Also, some health-careofficials may see the opportunity to reorganize and restructure theirefforts. Some physicians will decide to retire instead of re-openingtheir practices.

"We know from experience that some physicianswill choose to retire, but we don’t know how many," he said. "Likely avery substantial number of physicians will permanently move away fromthe area. This is both an opportunity for places that need physiciansas well as a dire problem for the population that will remain."

Heand colleagues conducted the analysis since they learned from floodingin eastern North Carolina that people would be hungry for informationabout the size of the impact to help them plan for responses, Rickettssaid. The results reveal a very big problem for restructuringhealth-care services since it is difficult to shift or allocate a fewphysicians much less thousands.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Study Shows Hurricane Katrina Affected 20,000 Physicians, Up To 6,000 May Have Been Displaced." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084744.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2005, September 28). Study Shows Hurricane Katrina Affected 20,000 Physicians, Up To 6,000 May Have Been Displaced. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084744.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Study Shows Hurricane Katrina Affected 20,000 Physicians, Up To 6,000 May Have Been Displaced." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084744.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins