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Professor's New Book Describes Feelings at Katrina Clinic
As professor of biostatistics at The University of Texas School of Public Health, Lemuel A. Moyé, M.D., Ph.D., hadn't actively practiced medicine for 13 years when Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans in August 2005.
But like many other Houstonians, when he learned that busloads of evacuees were en route to Reliant Park, he packed up a bag and headed there to do whatever he could.
The result of that experience is relayed in his intense personal account, Face to Face with Katrina Survivors: A First Responder's Tribute, released in December by Open Hand Publishing, LLC.
"The book is about stories that described the evacuees and their relationship with their rescuers," said Moyé, who also has written three science books on medical statistics. "The attitude and character of many of the evacuees was profoundly different than what was being portrayed in the media."
Moyé describes harrowing tales of survivors - a couple who suffered extreme sunburn because they didn't want to abandon a beloved pet on the roof of their home and a young mother who anguished over a missing child.
There are also uplifting stories of incredible kindness, such as the Houston volunteer who drove a grandfather to Baton Rouge to be reunited with his family, and of dedication, such as the team of epidemiologists who worked all night to calculate - by hand, because no high-tech means had arrived yet - a rising incidence of diarrhea in evacuee children. Their quick work avoided a large-scale epidemic.
"Many clinic workers in Houston volunteered their time, energy and the best of their spirits and attitudes to first stand for and then stand with the evacuees," Moyé writes in the book's introduction.
After finishing 12-hour shifts over a period of 10 days, Moyé returned home each night and jotted down his thoughts as a way of processing all he had seen and heard.
"Losing all they owned, suffering in silence, initially denigrated by many others who were in a position to help, and perhaps ultimately set aside by contemporary U.S. culture, most Katrina survivors will never be acknowledged for who they are - American heroes," Moyé writes.
He is hoping this account will change that.
By Deborah Mann Lake, Institutional Advancement
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