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Blood Purif. 2018 Dec 5:1-6. doi: 10.1159/000494580. [Epub ahead of print]

Disaster Management in a Nephrology Service: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Maria.



Puerto Rico suffered a major humanitarian -crisis after Hurricane Maria. We describe our experience with patients with renal disease in an academic medical center.


A comprehensive emergency response plan should be developed, shared and discussed with the team and the patients prior to the hurricane. The needs of the staff should not be ignored to ensure their ability to participate as responders. Physical damage to facilities, lack of basic services, shortage of disposable products, and the inability to get to treatment centers are the most common threats. Preemptive dialysis can avoid serious complications. A contingency plan to move patients to another center should be prearranged in case the unit is rendered nonfunctional after the storm. Patients must receive preventive education about fluid and dietary restrictions and the possible use of potassium binding drugs if they cannot reach a dialysis unit. A list of alternative drugs that could be used if patients are not able to fill their medications is required. The Internet and social media proved to be an invaluable communication tool. A registry of patients with updated contact information, as well as contact information for relatives and a physical address where an emergency rescue team can be dispatched is essential. Water safety should be reinforced. Key Message: Our experience showed us that preparing for the worst is not enough. Advanced planning of a streamlined response is the best tactic to decrease harm.


Dialysis; Disaster management; Hurricane; Natural disasters


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