Reliant Park Clinic Serves-Up Care for Katrina Evacuees

The crowds aren't quite what they were just a few days ago, but a full-service medical clinic set-up inside the Reliant Astro-arena has served 7,000 evacuees since last Thursday. The Harris County Hospital District's field hospital is one of the largest ever assembled.

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From routine medical procedures like simple blood pressure checks to treating more serious ailments, doctors and nurses from across the city have pitched-in to serve in what has become a remarkable clinic. Nurse Michelle Fowler says she can't imagine doing anything else right now. "Folks have really lost everything, and so we're able to provide them some support when they have absolutely nothing. The staff here is all upbeat. I mean, the morale of the staff is incredible. People are just pitching-in left and right doing what they need to do and we're getting the patients taken care of," she says.

A row of sinks sits in the middle of the clinic, a quicky-assembled scrub area for physicians and nurses scrambling to fill the need. The Harris County Hospital District's Brian McCloud says the clinic has grown over the past week. "They started with 20 exam rooms, expanded to 50 and then 70. As they were treating people, they were just building out new locations for clinical staff and specialties. It's pretty amazing," he says.

McCloud says volunteers from here in Houston and from cities thousands of miles away have pitched-in to treat evacuees who arrived on buses last Thursday. "The calls went out for medical volunteers early on because of just the enormous number of patients we were seeing, and people responded, and they responded from all over the country. There's dozens of stories like that," he says.

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