Damn Hurricane Ike, my cousin lost his job

My cousin, I’ll call him “John”, has been a nurse at a hospital in Galveston, Texas. I don’t know the full name of the place, but the acromym is UTMB. I have now heard that water damage to the hospital, courtesy of Hurricane Ike, was so bad that the hospital will be shut down completely. It doesn’t sound as if it can, or will, be repaired or rebuilt, as it would take over $700 million dollars. I knew there had been a lot of damage down on the island, but I didn’t know there are large parts of it still without electricity, or that folks can’t live on.

So as of 11/14/08 John will lose his job. He and his family are currently living in Austin, and John plans to stay there if he can find work. But I imagine the competition in the medical field is going to be fierce. At least John and family were able to salvage some of their own stuff from their Galveston home.

Any Texans know what the market is like for nurses in your state?

I wish I could do something to help, I feel really bummed for John, he’s a good guy.

whoa, utmb is a big complex in galveston, employing many, many, people. a very big hit for the island and for your cousin.

thankfully, nurses are in the recession proof jobs side. he should be able to find a new position rather quickly.

UTMB is the University of Texas Medical Branch.

[aside]Is that really so hard to figure out? All you have to do is type “UTMB” into Google. The link above is the first hit.[/aside]

Anyway, my father went to medical school there, and my mother went to PT (Physical Therapy) school there. It is a huge facility. According to the wikipedia entry, it is “a health care complex spanning 85 acres, with seven hospitals, 13,000 employees and an assortment of specialized clinics, centers and institutes, including a medical school.”

For comparison, the whole population of Galveston is less than 60,000 people, so UTMB is by far the largest employer on the island.

I cannot conceive of it not ultimately reopening. Perhaps your cousin works for one of the smaller hospitals at the complex that suffered more extensive damage?

As noted above, UTMB includes many hospitals. Which one are we talking about?

Sure it can. While $700 million is a lot of money, insurance will cover some of it, and FWIW, even before the hurricane, the annual budget for the complex is in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion.

It’s a shame he doesn’t want to relocate to south Louisiana… since our hurricanes, the medical facilities are begging for staff.

I seriously doubt that they will not rebuild UTMB. There are all kinds of nursing jobs in south Texas that pay quite well.

One story on UTMB damage.

i worked with an a and e firm that was heavily into hospitals and health care. the firm held on by the tips of its fingernails in the late '80’s and early '90’s.

building hospitals and renovating means fund drives. much of the money is given, grants, donations, fund raisers, etc.

all the hospitals that were slated to be built by the firm were “on hold”. either they had the money and wanted to hold off until they were sure of the economy; or they didn’t quite have a firm yes on the grants, donations, what ever. it finally started to loosen up in 1995.

it is starting to happen again. projects are going “on hold”. it will be difficult for utmb to raise that much money, and right now they will be looking to fix what can be fixed easily and reasonably, rather than try to get funding for building.

should the economy turn around they will be elbowing thier way to the front of the line.