Jay Brooks had to do an unusual kind of sleuthing before he could
diagnose and treat patients from New Orleans who washed into his
Baton Rouge, La., office after Hurricane Katrina. Their doctors back home had done the usual tests and blood work, but Brooks had to reconstruct what they found from the bag of prescription drugs the patients handed him.
"There were patients who came out of New Orleans who sat in my office and
said 'I have cancer.' I asked what kind, and they said 'I don't know,' " Brooks said. For Brooks, the bewilderment that many Katrina evacuees showed about their medical
conditions underscores the need to create a permanent, electronic medical
record that doctors can view if patients find themselves displaced by a
hurricane or otherwise in need of medical care far from home.
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