AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018

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Hurricane Harvey Forces LBJ Hospital Surgeon to Perform First-Ever Brain Surgery

Hurricane Harvey dumped 51 inches of rain on greater Houston and for Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, the ensuing floodwaters—up to six feet on some connecting roadways—made it a virtual island. During the 5-day storm (Aug. 25-30), staff maintained hospital operations, took in 180 evacuees and performed the first-ever brain surgery in the hospital’s 28-year history.

“This is a story about what a team does in a crisis,” says Alan Vierling, executive vice president and administrator, LBJ Hospital. “It’s a story about professionals who got in this business to save lives. It’s a story about people who don’t quit, don’t give up, solve every problem and overcome every hurdle.”

On day three of the storm, a 54-year-old man came into the hospital’s emergency center by military truck that was rescuing residents from floodwaters. The man was on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) searching for a lost child when he hit an embankment, fell off and hit his head.

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