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Hurricane Katrina Relocates Dermatopathologist to Creighton University

Hurricane Katrina Relocates Dermatopathologist to Creighton University

After 30 years in New Orleans, Deba Sarma, MBBS, vowed that no storm was going to chase him and his family from their home. So when the warnings about Hurricane Katrina started, he didn’t take much notice.

Dr. Sarma, the new director of dermatopathology at Creighton University Medical Center and professor at Creighton University Medical School, recalls thinking much of the news regarding the coming storm was hype.

“After all, how bad could the storm be? We were far enough inland and our home was solidly constructed. I was confident we could weather a temporary electric outage and a little wind and water.”

So, how bad was it? For seven days, Katrina held his family hostage in their home without electricity, water, cell phones or contact with the outside world. They endured the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, sewage, garbage, a foot of polluted water in their home, little food and very dark nights. During their “captivity,” Sarma’s family felt sure that the planes and helicopters they saw flying overhead each day would drop drinking water and food.

It was not until eight days later that the National Guard forged a road through the debris to the lakefront and told them that if they could make their way to the Levee Board Building the next morning, they could join a convoy that would escort them out of the city to high ground. Once there, it was a hotel room and, one of life’s simpler pleasures, a hot shower!

Katrina was not finished with the Sarma family, however. As a practicing dermapathologist and professor, Dr. Sarma relied upon the New Orleans VA Hospital and the University of Louisiana Medical School for his livelihood. Both were out of commission for a yet undetermined amount of time. At that point, Dr. Sarma decided to go even further inland and join family in Nebraska where, on April 1, he joined the staff of Creighton University Medical Center.

So, in retrospect, how bad was Katrina? Let's just say when Omaha’s sirens sound a tornado warning, Dr. Sarma and his family pay close attention.

Creighton Medical Laboratories (CML) provides a full line of clinical and anatomical testing to aid in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease. Diagnostic laboratory testing and consultative services are provided 24 hours per day, seven days per week. CML’s pledge is to provide accurate, timely and appropriate laboratory test data as a crucial link in the overall delivery of optimal health care.

Posted: 5/25/06

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