Read about some of Baylor’s Harvey Heroes below, and if you know of other heroes from the Baylor family, please email Dana Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. CeCe Sun
Dr. Yuanyue CeCe Sun, an internal medicine resident at Baylor College of Medicine, made it through the torrential rains of Hurricane Harvey in her Braeswood area apartment. With no floodwaters in her own apartment, she ventured out on Sunday morning, Aug. 26, to survey the complex and the surrounding neighborhood, an area prone to flooding due to its location on Brays Bayou. That’s when she heard someone yelling for a doctor.
That started a day that Sun never could have imagined, one that required her to call on her own medical training and rely on the resources of others in the community – heroes all in the aftermath of Harvey.
Turns out that call for a doctor was to help a neighbor in Sun’s apartment complex who had gone into labor during the storm. Her labor started around 4:30 a.m., and Sun arrived about three hours later, joining two local nurses who had already been helping.
Sun did what she could, working with the others to gather Tylenol, towels, hot water and sterile supplies and, importantly, serving as a translator for the woman in labor, who spoke Mandarin. She was very aware of her lack of expertise in obstetrics, but Sun and the others helping were not able to get through to emergency responders, who were overwhelmed with calls for assistance. She called on colleagues, including an ob/gyn resident and a general surgery intern in the Texas Medical Center. Finally, with their “patient’s” contractions only 30 seconds apart, a rooftop rescue was undertaken by the Coast Guard. After an emergency C-section, mom and baby boy are healthy.
Dr. Waqar Qureshi
Dr. Waqar Quresi, professor of medicine and chief of endoscopy, had some of the right gear to make a difference in the aftermath of the flooding from Harvey. With his truck and kayak, not to mention the help of his teenage son, Qureshi rescued several people and pets!
Clinical operations staff
When Terri Lee’s house flooded with two to three feet of water, she was thankful for her own Harvey Heroes. She expresses her gratitude in her own words below.
“My husband and I along with our four year old daughter, Haley, lived in a one story home in Memorial that flooded with about two to three feet of water. We lost everything except for clothes or things in cabinets and drawers hanging more than four feet from the ground. Water receded out of the house this Monday but unfortunately was still on our street until Thursday so in order to get to our house you had to go by boat.
Monday, my boss and our Baylor FGP COO Dan Wiens and his wife boated to our house to start tearing out and cleaning out the house – throwing away furniture, toys, taking out cabinets, wood floors, packing things that could be salvaged. Mike Cassidy, our executive director and my previous boss at Baylor came and did the same. That afternoon, Kristin Wade, our VP of nursing and Karla Heath, our AVP of Ops, came and picked up about 20 bags of clothes. The following day, Tuesday, when I was thinking about working a half day, Dan texted me and told me he and his wife would be out at our house to help again. Needless to say, I did not feel pressured about going back to work. Yesterday when I opened up my office door, there were 6 bags/containers of clean, nicely folded and labeled clothes for me and my family. This list does not include other Baylor friends who have offered help, cooked meals, and provided toys for Haley.
Words cannot express how thankful we are. We are blessed to have so many people in my Baylor work family who care about us.”
Baylor helping Baylor
Like many people in the Houston area, Tera Skeen, a research nurse in pediatric anesthesiology, and her 11-year-old daughter were forced to evacuate during Hurricane Harvey. They took refuge with an upstairs neighbor, leaving their ground floor unit with only a few items of clothing, essential documents and their two cats. When the water receded, they had lost everything. Their landlord requested they get their damaged belongings out almost immediately.
That’s when Skeen’s supervisor called in help from Baylor colleagues. Five Baylor employees came to Skeen’s house to help her and her daughter clear out debris and damaged items.
“I’ve never seen a ‘work family’ come together like this before! My colleagues came in, packed anything up that could be saved (not even a truck load), and put everything else out to the curb for trash. They got everything out of my unit and saved the day! Their generosity, hard work and time enabled me and my daughter to successfully satisfy the landlord, hopefully get my deposit back, and at the same time not endanger our health since we both deal with respiratory immune deficiencies. I know for a fact, that if it weren’t for these amazing work family members, we would not be in the situation we are currently in, and would still be figuring out how to get our flooded items out.”
She and her daughter are now safe and sound at a friend’s house until they make new permanent living arrangements, and also have accessed assistance through the Baylor Emergency Relief Fund.
Keeping an eye out for good health after Harvey
When dangerous weather swept in and people had to evacuate quickly, many were left without their corrective eyewear and medication for ophthalmologic conditions. Baylor ophthalmologists were on hand at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Center to help evacuees deal with these situations.
The Houston Ophthalmology Society (led by Amy Coburn and Ann Stout) along with University of Houston College of Optometry (specifically Pat Segu and Nancy George) and Prevent Blindness Texas (Heather Patrick and Monica Saenz) set up a daily ophthalmology screening at the GRB and NRG for the evacuees. Baylor ophthalmologists volunteered, performing histories, eye examinations including refraction to get glasses and dilated fundus exams, if needed. Evacuees were provided important information on how to follow up on the care they received at the evacuation shelters.
Cutlines: Department Chair Dr. Tim Stout (light blue), retina specialist Dr. Christina Weng, Dr. Zaina Al-Mohtaseb and cornea specialist Dr. Mitchell Weikert.
Orthopedic surgery lends a hand at shelter
Dr. Brian Davis, a medical resident, describes the volunteer efforts of the orthopedic surgery team at the shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center:
The Baylor Orthopedic Surgery team staff and residents mobilized early Tuesday, Aug. 29, with supplies and headed over to the GRB Convention Center where we had heard there were over 9,500 people located there and a medical and surgical relief need. When we arrived there was a medical area in one of the Halls complete with triage, pharmacy/medical supplies, mental health support, dialysis, and treatment areas color coded in green, yellow, and red based upon acuity. There was access to multiple ambulances if the need arose to send a patient urgently to the hospital. The medical needs of the community there were diverse.
The amount of support, donations, supplies, and volunteerism was wonderfully overwhelming. There was such an abundance of providers that we felt it necessary to turn some away and create a shift schedule for coverage. As the day progressed, the organization of the makeshift mini hospital improved and the workflow became more efficient.
The Disaster Medical Assistance Team from Minnesota arrived Tuesday afternoon and by the next day had completed setting up their 250 bed mobile hospital in the same Hall. It was an impressive feat and incredibly organized. They also had a mobile pharmacy trailer that was ready to go by Wednesday night.
We supplied another mobile Orthopedics team on Wednesday and again found a need for wound and fracture care as patients continued to present with musculoskeletal complaints. By 7 p.m. Wednesday, the transition of care from the volunteer mini hospital was complete and the DMAT team took over care. We left a donation of supplies for further orthopedic care.
I was very proud to be a part of this Baylor team and excited to see how the Baylor community rallied so quickly and abundantly to provide care to fellow Houstonians.”
Volunteers from orthopedic surgery included Dr. Lucas Harvey; Dr. Chris Perkins; Dr. Brian Davis, Dr. David Sun; Dr. Daniel Sun; Dr. Jet Liu; Dr. David Maxfield; Dr. Darshan Patel; Dr. Shawn Yari; Dr. Lorenza Deveza; and Dr. Brian Vial.
Medical students help long-time Baylor employee
Tara Myers has been a Baylor employee for 18 years in the Department of Medicine. When her house flooded with almost four feet of water during Harvey, she was overwhelmed with the clean-up task ahead of her. Before she had time to make any phone calls trying to get assistance, volunteers knocked on her door to help. The team of volunteers included neighbors, plus Baylor College of Medicine students and trainees and members of the Houston Baptist University women’s basketball squad. They tore out water-soaked cabinets, drywall, flooring, insulation and more.
“This shows the great spirit of not only BCM students, regardless of their chosen field of study, but also their teamwork effort with volunteers from Houston Baptist University. The selfless dedication shown by all the volunteers to me, as a stranger, is priceless. The College should be proud of the service these BCM students and trainees and their friends provided to me as they worked tirelessly beside the HBU volunteers,” Myers said.
BCM volunteers at Myers’ house included Dr. Vicky Ren, Dr. Megan Schlichte, Dr. Johnny Zhao and Dr. Quynh-Giao Nguyen, all residents, graduate student Marissa Minor, and medical student Victoria Mitre. Also helping were Stephen Nickelson and Thomas Sartor.
While Myers was on the receiving end of help from the community, others in the Department of Medicine stepped up to provide critical medical care and community service during the storm. Read more on the Department of Medicine website.