Trio of Pediatric Specialists from the National Disaster Medical System Deploy to Provide Expert Patient Care to Children following Hurricane Ian



After Hurricane Ian made landfall, National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) teams deployed to three hard-hit areas across Florida:  Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties.  These responders treated thousands of patients of all ages, from the very young to older adults. However, a group of responders at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Venice, Florida, was laser-focused on meeting the unique health needs of children in disasters.

The NDMS team serving at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital included a unique team of specialists with the training and experience to treat critically ill and injured children.  These specialists saw between five and eight pediatric patients daily. Although few fully functional hospitals in the U.S. have pediatric intensivists on staff, HHS is able to bring these specialists from other hospitals to disaster zones.

“We have a strong pediatric capability on my team,” said Keith Lindsay, team commander for NDMS’ Massachusetts Disaster Medical Assistance Team known as DMAT MA-1. “We have a pediatrician, a neonatal intensive care nurse, and a pediatric intensive care nurse working together to treat children.”

Last week, a mom brought in her 3-year-old son with persistent, worsening respiratory distress to the NDMS medical site outside Sarasota Memorial Hospital. A rare genetic disorder, tuberous sclerosis,  complicated the patient’s evaluation and care. Dr. Chung, assisted by Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Nurses Karen Waldo and Jennifer Samiotes, diagnosed the child with bronchiolitis; treated the patient aggressively with inhalers and oxygen; and immediately transferred him to a pediatric hospital off site.

Doctors treating pediatric patient  

Dr. Edward Chung and Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Jennifer Samiotes treat a young patient with rare chronic condition who arrived at NDMS tents outside Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice.

Later that day, Dr. Chung and Nurses Waldo and Samiotes treated another young child who sustained an injury to his face that required sutures. Working together, the trio of pediatric specialists helped keep the patient calm and provided stitches. 

Nurses with pediatric patient.  See description below.  

Above, NDMS Pediatric Intensive Care Nurses Karen Waldo and Jennifer Samiotes made a tough day a little easier for this 3-year-old by bringing him a balloon during a check-up after receiving stiches for an animal bite.

Are you a medical professional who is interested in caring for patients when disaster strikes? Join the thousands of medical professionals who made the commitment to protect health and save lives during disasters and emergencies. NDMS professionals are intermittent federal employees who serve for a few weeks in disaster zones when they are called to action and spend the rest of the year providing care in their own communities. If you think NDMS might be right for you, learn more and apply. NDMS has open opportunities now, and we anticipate having more openings in the future.


Response and Recovery




Jarone Lee, MD MPH, Medical Officer, DMAT MA-1

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Doctor with pediatric patient
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Created at 10/21/2022 9:11 AM by ELIZABETH JARRETT
Last modified at 10/21/2022 9:14 AM by ELIZABETH JARRETT