North Toward Home
Nurse brought New Orleans patients to Yazoo during Katrina
By JAMIE PATTERSON
“You can leave them here, or you can stay with them. It’s up to you.”
When Rosemary James heard those words, she knew things were going to get bad.
Working as a registered nurse at a New Orleans chronic ventilator unit, the Dover community native knew she had a tough choice to make when it came to her remaining patients.
This wasn’t just any ordinary storm moving in their direction. It was Hurricane Katrina.
And James was no ordinary nurse.
“I was not willing to stay or leave my patients and staff there,” James said. “I knew something had to be done.”
During the chaos of one of history’s most destructive storms, James took charge of evacuating her unit. Not sure where to go with her critical patients, only one place came to her mind.
Using personal vehicles, James successfully got her patients to King’s Daughters Hospital in Yazoo City. And she didn’t lose any patients during her remarkable journey.
“It was quite an experience,” she said.
New Orleans has seen its share of hurricanes and other severe weather, but many knew something was different about the approaching Hurricane Katrina.
James said her unit knew preparations had to be made with her 26 patients at the Renaissance, a chronic ventilator unit.