Physicians, nurses and students from UC Davis Health are volunteering to provide urgently needed medical care to survivors of the Camp Fire in Butte County.
At multiple shelters, the volunteers are providing basic medical care, helping evacuees manage illnesses such as asthma and inhalation injuries, refilling prescriptions, and preventing the spread of the highly contagious norovirus, which has broken out at some shelters and is being handled with isolation methods and administration of IV fluids.
“We are seeing so many people displaced from their homes right as we’re going into the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Kurt J. Slapnik, medical director of UC Davis Medical Group. “I really felt like I needed to help out in some way.”
First-year physician assistant student Shannon Watson, a registered nurse, long-time disaster relief volunteer and former Butte County resident, quickly organized her Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing classmates to volunteer at a shelter clinic, caring for elderly, frail evacuees.
“To me, this is what our school is all about,” said Watson. “Our mission is service to rural communities, the underserved and leadership. To me, doing this is all of that.”
Michael Pang, a first-year physician assistant student who answered Watson’s call for help, says he jumped at the opportunity to serve a community in need.
“This is a good reminder of why we want to be providers,” said Pang. “This is about serving our community and meeting its needs.”