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Nursing Faculty Deployed to Puerto Rico for Disaster Relief

Nov 8, 2017

Dr. Kathy Harvey, a faculty member and alumna of the College of Nursing’s FNP and DNP program, has participated in disaster relief since 1992. In 2003, she joined the Texas 4 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) at a nurse practitioner. In September, Dr. Harvey and her team were deployed to Puerto Rico for disaster relief as a result of Hurricane Maria.


Dr. Harvey and the Texas 4 DMAT team, made up of highly trained nurses, paramedics, NPs, pharmacists, physicians, command staff, as well as logistics and communication personnel, knew they needed to be prepared to be without food, water or electricity and packed accordingly. Their mission was to operate a field hospital on the campus of the only Level 1 Trauma Center that had sustained damage due to the hurricane and was running on a generator, while receiving patients from all over the island, as many other hospitals had been damaged and needed to be evacuated. They worked around the clock every day. Nursing and medical students from Puerto Rico, who weren’t able to attend classes due to school closures, became their translators. During breaks in patient flow, Dr. Harvey and others on the team taught the students basic health procedures, such as suturing, and reviewed pathophysiology.


“When my team demobilized, we left Puerto Rico exhausted and sad to be leaving our new found friends but knowing that we had answered the call for help from our fellow Americans and proud of what we were able to accomplish,” said Dr. Harvey.