Respiratory Therapy Students Respond During Crisis
When a tornado devastated a local community this past April, students from Georgia Southern University’s Respiratory Therapy program sprang into action. Senior respiratory therapy students, Kelly Gray and Ashley Mathis, were ending their scheduled extern shifts at Memorial Hospital when a tornado touched down in Bryan County, Georgia, placing the hospital on mass casualty alert as it was reported several residents were trapped in damaged homes. Instead of Gray and Mathis heading home, the two joined their respiratory team and began gathering and calibrating ventilators and insured the ventilators were stationed in the emergency room where they would be readily available for potential victims. The students also gathered the airway management supplies that would be needed for possible intubations and began communicating with the respiratory therapists they would obtain the arterial blood gasses on victims since these were treated as trauma protocol cases.
After hearing of the devastation, junior respiratory therapy students came together and created personal hygiene bundles as well as collected supplies for the tornado victims. Each hygiene bundle included a handwritten note with a ribbon that read, “Here’s a little something to help you breathe easier.” Donations were delivered to Lanier Primary School in Pembroke, Georgia, where a staging area and donation center was located for the tornado victims.