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9/18/2001
Press Release

ASHP Honors Houston Hospital Pharmacists for Courageous Service

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has honored the pharmacy staffs at Memorial Hermann Hospital and The Methodist Hospital, both in Houston, with its Executive Vice President’s Award for Courageous Service.  These pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and supportive personnel are recognized for their efforts in successfully maintaining vital pharmacy service for patients during the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001.

 

Tropical Storm Allison dumped at least three feet of rain on Houston, flooding roads and buildings citywide. Severe flooding and power outages in the pre-dawn hours of June 9 prompted both Memorial Hermann and Methodist Hospitals to move patients to other area hospitals. Pharmacy employees, led by James Maddock, director of pharmacy at Memorial Hermann and Lois M. Nash, diector of pharmacy at Methodist Hospital, worked with other hospital staff to evacuate several hundred patients by flashlight, carrying them on gurneys down as many as 10 flights of stairs to waiting helicopters. Critically ill patients undergoing treatment in Memorial Hermann’s trauma centers were transferred to facilities not accustomed to the severity of their conditions. To help maintain drug therapy for these patients, several pharmacy personnel accompanied and stayed on with patients at the new sites.

At both Memorial Hermann and Methodist Hospitals, staff scrambled to remove medication stock from basement storage areas as water levels rose menacingly around them. The deluge would eventually destroy both sites’ main pharmacies. Working with wholesale pharmaceutical distributors and disaster-recovery computer firms, pharmacy workers replenished needed drug inventories and restored patient information systems within hours of the floods.

Maddock and Nash commended employees for their dedication and unflagging morale, both during and after the crisis. Three months later, both pharmacy departments still operate from temporary facilities.

"We applaud the tremendous dedication to patient care demonstrated by the pharmacy staffs at these institutions," said ASHP President Steven L. Sheaffer, Pharm.D., FASHP. "They braved extremely hazardous conditions to ensure that their patients were safe and able to continue their drug therapy without interruption."

The ASHP Board of Directors created the award to recognize "specific incidents of inspiring, unselfish service, under adverse conditions, related to providing the services of health-system pharmacists, or assisting health-system pharmacists in providing services, to patients."

ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.