AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


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

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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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