UTMB Reopens Galveston ER

Nearly a year after Hurricane Ike, UTMB will reopen its emergency room at eight tomorrow morning. It's a major step in the hospital's recovery and return to normal functions. Laurie Johnson reports.
When Ike blew through Galveston on September 13th, UTMB's hospital sustained extensive damage.

Now, almost a year later, UTMB's Associate Chief Operating Officer Mike Hill says it's extremely important to have an operational emergency room on Galveston Island.

"We're a tourist island, we see a lot of traffic down here during the summertime and a lot of accidents happen as a result of that. And it's critical, I mean minutes are key when you have a traumatic injury or an emergency like what we've experienced in the past here."

Hill says they've been working for months to get the ER back online.

Employees have gone through a couple of dry runs in preparation for the 8am opening.

"We fully anticipate seeing ambulances run up our ambulance ramp and we'll probably have a steady flow of patients throughout. We were averaging about 150 a day pre-storm, and we fully anticipate that volume to be back when we reopen."

The emergency room will be able to accept all types of cases with the exception of psychiatric patients.

And Hill says the reopening gives the community a sense of assuredness about the long-term recovery of the island.

Laurie Johnson, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...