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Tulane residents and fellows step up as Hurricane Ida impacts New Orleans

September 16, 2021 10:00 AM
Carolyn Scofield cscofiel@tulane.edu

Neurology resident Dr. Tolulope Amiola enjoys a hot meal after long shifts working during Hurricane Ida's aftermath.


The call went out as Hurricane Ida approached Louisiana packing winds of up to 150 miles per hour – who would be available to work on the Code Grey clinical teams that would ride out the storm and stay for its aftermath? The resident and fellow physicians of Tulane University School of Medicine answered that call without hesitation.


Neurology resident Dr. Tolulope Amiola worked long nights and followed up with patient rounds during the day. After the storm and a 72-hour shift, he went home to discover damage in his apartment – but his priority was still focused on his patients. After a short and much-needed break to visit family, Amiola returned to the hospital and went right back to work.


Amiola’s fellow neurology residents Drs. Mohamadmostafa Jahansouz, Reema Kumari, John Eaton, Tse ‘Phil’ Chen, Shane Dorsey, and Andrew Voyiadjis also remained on the ground and filled in wherever needed without hesitation. Eaton worked through the storm at University Medical Center all while preparing for his upcoming wedding, which was scheduled for the weekend after Ida hit. After finishing his long shift, his grateful co-residents made sure Eaton got to Houston to catch a flight and he made it to his wedding on time.


Triple board resident Dr. Danaë Brierre volunteered for Code Grey during the storm and only took a brief rest before coming back to relieve the team that had relieved her. Drs. Sumedha Purkayastha and Jonathan "Ty" Spradley also volunteered after the storm to help relieve the tired “A teams” of their doctor colleagues.


Ida left the city of New Orleans without power and internet, and the Residents who had evacuated still worked long hours by handing telehealth visits.  This allowed those doctors remaining in local hospitals to completely focus on patients who required more immediate assistance.


Dr. Amanda Cooke, a palliative care fellow, returned from evacuation even though she still didn’t have power in her apartment. She did this so she could voluntarily pick up 12-hour residency shifts several days in a row, providing a valuable decompression opportunity for the busy internal medicine team.


These stories are just a small sampling of the widespread work of the Tulane physicians, faculty, staff, residents and fellows.


“The Tulane School of Medicine is a tremendous community, and our Residents and Fellows visibly demonstrated that by giving of their time and energy when New Orleans needed it most,” said Lee Hamm, MD, Sr. Vice President and Dean of the Tulane University School of Medicine. “We’re thankful for everyone who helped our hospitals stay open throughout the storm.”


Know someone else at the School of Medicine who went above and beyond to help during Hurricane Ida? Email their story to somcommunications@tulane.edu.