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Ravaged South Cameron Memorial Hospital to open as ‘makeshift hospital’ for the foreseeable future

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 7:44 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In 2005, Hurricane Rita obliterated the South Cameron Memorial Hospital and it’s deja vu all over again now that the dust has settled from Hurricane Laura.

It’s been just over one month since Hurricane Laura and residents in Cameron haven’t had much access to emergency services.

“You can see where the stormwater and debris was," said South Cameron Hospital CEO and Operator Leslie Trahan.

15 years of progress for the South Cameron Hospital destroyed yet again by mother nature...

“So yeah, we just have to plan to be on temporary power for the extended future," Trahan said.

Eerie images show the initial aftermath of the storm and the destruction left behind on a hospital that was newly built to withstand tropical weather after Hurricane Rita.

In the last few weeks since Hurricane Laura ravaged much of what was left of the Cameron coast, there has been major progress in restoring healthcare int he parish.

“I’m a huge advocate for access to healthcare and access to an emergency department and life-saving measures," Trahan said. This hospital being here means life and death for a lot of people.”

With the nearest emergency room nearly an hour away from residents. Trahan says overcoming adversity is nothing new for those still living and working in the parish.

“This is 3 times in 15 years, it gets harder every time. But it’s not something you give up, it’s not something that you stop and say I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“It’s really just a makeshift ordeal but it’s designed to stay here for the long haul," said Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Region 4 Administrative Coordinator Donnie Simon.

With the assistance of healthcare providers in Terrebonne and Lafayette Parishes, Cameron will now have a means to an end for emergency services in the aftermath of Laura.

“Early assessment has been to at least January. Depending on the infrastructure and utilities, we’re certainly prepared to keep it here longer," Simon said.

Trahan says they hope to have the makeshift hospital up and running sometime next week. It will be operated by doctors and nurses from South Cameron Memorial Hospital.

The plan is for it to operate during non-curfew hours but it will transition to 24 hours once the curfew in Cameron Parish is lifted.

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