Helping Harvey Victims: ED Resident Physician Serves in Hurricane-Ravaged Texas

September 6, 2017

Steve Morgan, MD

The force of Hurricane Harvey was too powerful for Steve Morgan, MD, a University Hospitals resident physician and U.S. Army Captain. When the Louisiana native headed home for vacation over the Labor Day weekend, he was drawn to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts on the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast.

Driving along Interstate 10 with a medical school classmate, Steve found waterlogged roads, abandoned cars, wrecked homes, and businesses drowned in four to five feet of water. The pair were greeted heartily by a US Army physician assistant, who was running a makeshift medical clinic hastily set up in an abandoned warehouse halfway between Beaumont and Port Arthur, TX, two of the hardest-hit towns outside Houston.

Steve is utilizing his military and medical training to treat patients as he would in a war zone. Only in Texas, he has seen a wider range of unexpected conditions.  He speaks compassionately about a seven-day-old baby with dehydration and elderly people suffering from gastrointestinal bleeds, urinary tract infections and pneumonia.  Supplies are slow in arriving, and patients – many with worsening conditions – are desperate for help as they stream into the clinic.

“We are making tough decisions with scarce resources,” says Steve, who started his emergency medicine residency at UH Cleveland Medical Center in June 2016. “This PA was so relieved that second-year residents came in to take over the medical tent. You get to see how much you have learned and grown. Everyone is looking to you to help them.”

Steve, who grew up in a one-stoplight town 50 miles from New Orleans, has his own battle scars from hurricanes Rita and Gustav. And he was in high school when Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown of Gray, LA. His grandmother refused to evacuate, fearing looters more than the storm itself.

“People don’t understand that when you’re poor, it’s too difficult and expensive to evacuate when a hurricane is coming,” says Steve. “We simply can’t afford to leave every time. So you take your chances.”

He knows many people devastated by Harvey, including a cousin trying to salvage what he can from a now snake-infested house. Steve hopes to mend some wounds for neighbors.

“Nobody told me to go there,” says Steve. “I felt a need to go and support my neighboring state. I’m just being a good citizen.”

Send your note of thanks and appreciation to Dr. Morgan.

Important Links & Numbers

Refer A Patient

Call Direct 866-UH4-CARE (866-844-2273)
or 800-552-8338

Contact a UH Physician Liaison Team Member Direct

Transfer Referral Line

216-844-1111 or

UH Physician Portal

Request UH Physician Portal Access

Find a UH Facility