Texas A&M and the Texas State Guard want to have plenty of people ready to respond to medical needs in times of disasters. That's where the Texas Medical Rangers come in.
When special needs patients displaced by hurricane Rita needed a place to receive medical attention, Texas A&M was prepared for the challenge. The large animal clinic at the College of Vet Medicine was converted into hospital for humans. That meant the need for volunteers. The Texas Medical Rangers were a big help.
" These evacuees from this storm pointed out how broad and complex our health care system is, how delicate it is. How easily it can be broken and the kinds of people that may need help such as infants, such as people with special needs, such as folks in nursing homes," said Dr Robert Feldtman with the Texas State Guard.
The Texas Medical Rangers is a unit within the Texas State Guard. The team consists of specially trained volunteers from health-related fields. The state guard is looking to train more volunteers so there is always a surplus should disaster strike. But you don't necessarily have to have experience in the medical field to be apart of the medical rangers.
" What we need is the whole gamut of community response. Physicians, nurses, technicians, but also regular volunteers because there is a fair amount of simple, menial tasks that need to be done," said Dr P.K. Carlton with Texas A&M's Health Science Center.
State guard commanders say many lessons were learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
" Organization I think is the big thing. To work with the state organizations, DPS, the incident command folks," said Lt Colonel Robert Kissel with the Texas State Guard.
For more information on the Texas Medical Ranchers, visit their website at www.texasmedicalrangers.com.