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UCLA RN to Join 4th National Nurses Group to Head to Philippines for Typhoon Haiyan Relief Effort

California Nurses Association Press Release, 12/7/13

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While many families are busy in December holiday preparations, a group of registered nurses – including  Paolo Montenegro, a Burbank, Ca. resident who works at UCLA Medical Center – are getting ready for their own special gift – heading  to the Philippines to provide medical support for those who continue to be affected by aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

 

Montenegro is a part of a  fourth team of RNs, participating in the National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network, most of whom will depart on Monday, December 9, linking up with RNRN nurses already on the ground in Roxas on northern end of the island of Panay, which was in the direct path of the storm.

 

While the RNs in the program have volunteered their time and depended on RNRN to fund their relief deployment, Montenegro’s assignment breaks new ground with support from his employer, UCLA, which is funding the cost of his flight, accommodations in the Philippines, and two weeks of full pay during his relief assignment.

 

California Nurses Association/NNU members will host Montenegro in a media availability send off event Monday, December 9, at 10:00 a.m. in front of the entrance of UCLA Mattel Children Hospital, 660 Galey Ave.

 

Montenegro will join a fourth delegation of RNs from Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona, and California. They are among the more than 3,000 RNs from all 50 states and 19 nations who volunteered in the days after the deadly storm to assist with the relief project.

 

NNU, which intends to continue sending RNs to the Philippines long after the world’s spotlight has faded, is inviting the public to contribute to the effort, at http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/pages/rnrn-disaster-relief-fund

 

Montenegro and others from the fourth team will be providing basic medical care, such as wound care, giving tetanus and other shots, offering critical stress debriefings, and other basic care in clinics in Roxas in conjunction with local public health officials, health care organizations, and health workers, such as the Alliance of Health Workers, which is a member of Global Nurses United, along with NNU.

 

RNRN members at work in evacuation center in Estancia. More than 2,000 have been forced from their homes.
RNRN members at work in evacuation center in Estancia. More than 2,000 have been forced from their homes.

 

Additionally, RNRN is expanding its current deployment to sites in hard hit Estancia, also on Panay, which, in addition to the effects of the typhoon, was also slammed with a debilitating oil spill. The typhoon pushed the spill onto the shoreline, dropped oil onto people’s homes, and clogged the air with crippling fumes, all of which exacerbated health risks for area residents.

 

“The public health concerns for oil spills are many: asthma, heart disease, lung disease and cancer, shown through studies, are all leading to premature death,” said Ashley Forsberg, an RN from Lansing, Mi., a part of the third RNRN team who was in Estancia Friday. “These are the primary threats to humans and the oil spills further hinders a community’s economic livelihood and is devastating to your environment.”

 

Tim Launius, a critical care RN from Michigan who recently returned from his deployment with the second RNRN team, recalls that his first day working on relief assignment took place at a damaged church powered by a generator.

 

Throughout the day, Launius noted, more than 300 patients sought assistance with injuries that had festered for weeks without attention. Many receiving treatment suffered from infections because their makeshift housing was contaminated from the typhoon’s storm surge. Within a week his team had provided care for more than 1,000 patients.

 

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