The floods inundating Houston pose a particular challenge to Baton Rouge's cancer patients who frequently travel back and forth between the two cities to receive treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
But doctors at each of Baton Rouge's hospital-affiliated cancer centers — Ochsner Medical Center, Baton Rouge General Medical Center and Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center — said Tuesday that patients in the capital city are welcome at each of their cancer centers for treatments. They say the treatments patients received at MD Anderson can easily be continued locally and that it's important that cancer patients do not have disruptions in their care.
The Cajun Navy has been resurrected.
MD Anderson will be closed until Wednesday at the earliest for outpatient services, appointments and surgeries as roads near the hospital are submerged under high water. MD Anderson has not flooded, and patients already inside of the hospital, often ranked as the nation's best for cancer care, are still being treated.
"While MD Anderson and other Houston facilities are still struggling with the effects of Harvey, we will ensure that cancer care is uninterrupted to the greatest extent possible,” said Jay Brooks, the chairman of hematology and oncology for Ochsner. “I’ve spoken to several patients in the last two days who were extremely relieved that we are able to seamlessly maintain their cancer treatment here at Ochsner.”
Ochsner has access to electronic health records, which allow the hospital to see a patient's history and treatment plans even if the patient has previously been treated at a hospital in other states.
Baton Rouge General is also welcoming MD Anderson cancer patients and encouraging them to bring their medical records and treatment plans. Medical Director of Radiation Oncology William Russell said the hospital's doors are open to anyone who can use its cancer services.
"We have a great relationship with MD Anderson and hate to see them going through this storm," Russell said. "Helping our neighbors is part of who we are."
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Mary Bird Perkins can coordinate care for any patients coming from other cancer centers. The cancer center also sent thoughts and prayers to those affected by the floods and storms wrought by Tropical Storm Harvey.
"Many of our oncologists were trained at MD Anderson and have close relationships with those physicians, in particular, and we collaborate with them on a regular basis," said Scott Miller, the cancer center's public relations manager.