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Four Navy Health Clinics Hit by Katrina 'Partially Operational'

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050903-08
Release Date: 9/3/2005 6:34:00 PM

By Rod Duren, Naval Hospital Pensacola Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Four of Naval Hospital Pensacola’s five Gulf Coast branch health clinics in New Orleans and Mississippi, which faced the brunt of Hurricane Katrina, are “partially operational,” the hospital’s engineer reported Sept. 3.

The Naval Station Pascagoula, Miss., clinic was the lone facility deemed non-functioning, although personnel continue to provide care to area residents in the county’s only off-base shelter.

Lt.j.g. Jason Adams, fresh from three days at the two coastal Mississippi bases, indicated that the Construction Battalion Center facility at Gulfport was on partial power and providing primary care and pharmacy services to the Seabee contingents and about 1,400 people in the base shelter.

The three New Orleans clinics – on the East Bank downtown; at Naval Support Activity and Naval Air Station Belle Chasse – were also partially-powered and providing care to a total of 350 people overall. The NAS Belle Chasse facility has become a staging ground for Army and Coast Guard helicopter airlifts.

The resiliency of the Seabee community was a “primary reason” that the clinic was functioning as well as it is, said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Grimes, officer in charge of the branch health clinic at Gulfport.

Lt. Cmdr. Wayne Chardon, environmental health officer for NH Pensacola, said the ‘can do’ attitude of the Gulfport Seabees was “significantly impressive.” In assessing the environmental impact of water and sewage on the base, the Seabees responded very quickly to his requests for assistance. “I’d ask the 'Bees to provide assistance in getting our needs met...and they’d be finished with each request within 20 minutes,” he said.

But “no amount of deployments would have prepared [us] for this [type of situation]," said Cmdr. Daniel Regan, senior dental officer at Gulfport.

NH Pensacola is the parent command of 12 branch health clinics in four states. The hospital has established an Incident Command Center to assist in the coordination of assets, including supplies, equipment and personnel, and communication among the many branches of military and facilities involved in providing the much-needed medical care to the members of the military family in the effected areas.

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