Fifth Peoples Medical Relief Reportback Grace Keller

Fifth Peoples Medical Relief Reportback Grace Keller

New York City, Nov. 6, 2012 — Peoples' Medical Response Dispatch decided to not open the clinical hub in the Rockaways yesterday due to the approaching Nor'easter and a coastal flood warning that included coastal Queens and Staten Island. The temperature dropped steadily throughout the day as the Nor'easter approached. Heavy, wet snow, sleet, and more rain began falling around lunchtime, and the wind picked up in the afternoon. By dusk (about 4:30 pm) the temperature reached 32F — the lowest temperature this fall.

As the storm approached, 79 of the 402 NYCHA buildings throughout the city remained without power or hot water. The buildings without power are mainly in Coney Island, Red Hook and Far Rockaway. The city evacuated all 600 residents from three nursing homes and an adult-care facility on the Rockaway Peninsula. The facilities were still using generators for electricity. There were several warming centers open in Coney Island last night, but none on the Rockaway Peninsula.

In the afternoon and evening, the weather caused roads to be closed, cars to get stuck in the snow, gas lines to get even more out of control, and bus lines to stop service again, but there was no reported flooding. Overnight, at least 16,000 people lost power due to high winds and downed trees, including parts of the Rockaways that just had their power restored in the last few days.

The warmth of the sun should return Friday, with clear skies and temperatures back up into the 50s.

Please see this useful daily relief bulletin:

Contact Peoples Medical Response Dispatch

  • (646) 470-7256
  • moc.liamg|hctapsidcidemso#moc.liamg|hctapsidcidemso
  • St. Jacobi Lutheran Church building, 5406 4th Ave, Brooklyn (Sunset Park)

Coney Island Peoples Medical Relief Hub

Coney Island Gospel Assembly building, 2828 Neptune Avenue

Peoples' Medical Relief Dispatch sent three RNs, a Paramedic, an EMT, an MD, and a third-year medical student to the hub; Becca was the site coordinator. Becca made the call to close the site early (about an hour before dusk) due to the risk of flooding and the icy mix making driving conditions hazardous.

Dr. Lipman arrived at about 9:30 am and left at about 1:30. This was her first day working at the hub. She noted that not many patients walked in early in the morning, and it took a while to get volunteers wrangled and to the site, with the team (the nurses, Paramedic, EMT, and Russian interpreters) leaving the hub to begin canvassing at about 10:30 am. "When the canvassers come back is when the doctors' work really starts," she said. During her shift she sat in the church waiting for people to call her, triaged 2 or 3 walk-ins, and looked over the information about the residents that had been seen the previous day.

She was impressed by Becca's skill in managing the site: "Whenever new groups of volunteers came in, she stopped everything, grabbed everybody, and introduced the new volunteers. She oriented every incoming volunteer as soon as they arrived." Becca's ability to stay on top of things kept the space from ever feeling out of control, and Dr. Lipman stayed longer than anticipated.

Galicia (Paramedic) heard about the effort via facebook from friends who were involved in OWS. She went to St Jacobi in Sunset Park a few days ago, and was dispatched to the Coney Island hub for the first time today. She reported that the supplies were well-organized and the hub was well-run. She was on the team that left to canvass at 10:30 am. They were sent to a development of five NYCHA buildings where they broke into two teams (because there were two interpreters) and checked in on every apartment, top-to-bottom in two of the 14-story buildings. The buildings still had no power, lots of people had not evacuated, and seniors and people with health issues are unable to use the staircases.

Galicia said that the door-knocking procedure is an evolving work in progress, which she thinks is a good thing. Russian translators are essential. Several households wanted to refill prescriptions and just didn't know where to find an open pharmacy. Her team gave these people information about nearby open pharmacies, and the residents sent a family member to pick up their medications. A few did not have someone to get their prescriptions, so Galicia's team took down these peoples' names, building and apartment #s, and passed the information on to Becca. The other team took down detailed notes on medications. She says there is no set protocol or procedure for medication refills — they are brainstorming about having runners get prescriptions for residents, but this has not happened yet. Later in the day someone at the church dispatched her to a specific household where the resident had a medical need identified by other canvassers. She hopes to be back the next time she can get a day off work.


In the morning Peoples' Medical Relief Dispatch meeting we clarified our roles with each other and discussed how mental health workers and chaplains should be dispatched. Both of these are ongoing conversations, and the roles are evolving.

Julie and Stephanie (Volunteer Dispatch)

  • Respond to volunteer requests
  • Database volunteer requests and verify provider credentials
  • Respond to needs requests from Coney and Rockaway hub coordinators
  • Database needs requests
  • Direct volunteers to Coney or Rockaway hub as needed
  • Track when volunteers arrive and when they go home

In the afternoon St. Jacobi lost power.


Laurie directed the large donation of medications from Americares to two FQHCs in Red Hook and Rockaway that will be re-opening soon. She ill meet with them again to discuss a potential grant and potential donations of glucometers, test strips, BP cuffs, stethoscopes, and home health care supplies.

She also checked in about a situation on Sun 4 Nov where two Peoples' Medical Relief teams that canvassed Israel Senior Citizens Housing in Far Rockaway passed patient and drug information that was collected in order to do medication refills to a doctor who did not know what to do with it who then passed the information on to Laurie as she was heading to Manhattan. Laurie resolved the problem [the next day?] of being in possession of the patient information while in the wrong borough by passing the 4 or 5 patients' information passed to her by Will along to Mo, and passing the 4 patients' information passed to her by Roger on to Julie and Stephanie [day the info passed on not reported, and it is still not verified if the residents ultimately received their medications].

This situation does not reflect poorly on any of the individuals along the chain of transmission. It simply calls for continued thoughtful work on optimizing prescription medication refill routines. Laurie, Mike, Becca, and others are doing this work, and Grace is continuing to do quality assurance until an optimal routine is found.

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