Hurricane Katrina: A Defining Moment for US Med-Equip
Every year while the city of New Orleans and the entire nation observes the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, US Med-Equip reflects on how the events surrounding this devastating storm were challenging for the company and yet, ironically, became a very positive, defining moment in our company’s history.
At the time, US Med-Equip was a fairly young company with huge aspirations. But as many of our national competitors began evacuating employees and resources due to the approach of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, we continued delivering medical equipment to the local hospitals. In addition to doing what we thought was the right thing to do, we also felt very invested in meeting the needs of the New Orleans patients. Many of our employees, then and now, were from the New Orleans area and those patients could have been neighbors, family members, friends or business associates.
From the Saturday prior to the storm to days and weeks after the levees broke, US Med-Equip delivered medical equipment to hospitals not only in New Orleans, but also to facilities in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Alexandria – locations where many of the New Orleans patients were transferred. We delivered NICU medical equipment in New Orleans prior to the storm and flew employees to St. Louis to pick up ventilators and then drive and deliver them to hospitals in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
In those rushed and chaotic times, we couldn’t be sure we’d be paid for those deliveries. So why did we do it? Simple. At a time when medical resources across Southeast Louisiana were scarce or exasperated because of the hurricane, we were reminded of our mission to “serve a patient in need.”
The keyword here is “patient.”
Hurricane Katrina was undoubtedly the event that cemented US Med-Equip’s “patients first” company culture. Additionally, we learned from those circumstances what we’re capable of enduring as a company while providing resources and equipment to hospitals during the traumatic days before and after Katrina hit New Orleans. Whether one is working with US Med-Equip for several years or is a relatively new employee, we share this reflection to provide some insight on how strongly we believe why we are in business and who we are here to serve.
We thank our employees for all that they do for patients and for this company every day.