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LMS President’s Message: September 2022 – Task Force to Help Disaster Relief for Patients and Physicians

LMS President’s Message: September 2022 – Task Force to Help Disaster Relief for Patients and Physicians
By Khalil Rahman, MD, MBA

In recent years Kentucky has been hit by subsequent natural disasters. Recent floods in Eastern Kentucky have destroyed families, townships, and small cities. Last year a devastating tornado destroyed swaths of Western Kentucky. The residents of these counties had nowhere to go, some of them lost loved ones, their dwellings, and their employment. Multiple organizations and the government sector are working to help these communities. Teamwork to improve the current situation and planning for long term solutions are in force. 

During our last LMS Executive Committee meeting, a question was raised about what role the Lexington Medical Society has in helping patients, healthcare workers, and pharmacies during a natural disaster. The LMS has no policy, procedures, or funding to assist with the community in a natural disaster. 

One recent request came via Face Book from a private physician who lost his clinic in Eastern Kentucky to flooding. The physician was in desperate need of medical equipment and medication. He requested IV fluids, IV tubing, oxygen tanks, insulin supplies, portable X-Ray machine, portable labs, suture equipment, sterile dressing, cleaning materials, exam tables, office chairs, blood pressure cuff and other small items. 

A tornado on the ground shortly after destroying a small neighborhood.

The Lexington Medical Society is forming a Natural Disaster Emergency Response Task Force to start the initial work of researching and analyzing the feasibility of how we could help our fellow Kentuckians in times of disaster. Ideally, we could see how we could integrate in existing state or local emergency response frameworks. The Greater Louisville Medical Society, GLMS, our counterpart in Louisville, delved into this space with a unique concept.

GLMS formed a nonprofit organization called Supplies Over Seas in 1993 which redistributes surplus medical supplies and equipment to poor and underserved areas around the world and in our own region. Supplies Overseas partners with hospitals and others to recover and send what otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. Like GLMS, LMS would like to form a non-profit organization focused on helping those in time of natural disasters in central and eastern Kentucky.

LMS is looking to see where we could be value-added and integrate, not duplicate, into emergency response efforts. We need member help in brain-storming concepts that we could turn into capabilities to help our state in time of great need. Please contact Chris Hickey, our LMS EVP/CEO, (859) 278-0569, if you would be interested in serving on the Natural Disaster Emergency Response Task Force.

Khalil Rahman, MD, MBA.