Nurses from a San Diego hospital are on day five of an aid mission in Butte County helping thousands of people living in shelters and tents after the Camp Fire ravaged their homes.
Those five nurses are from the Scripps Medical Response Team and they’re in Chico and surrounding communities doing medical check-ups, providing prescriptions, and fighting the spread of disease.
“Pretty much everyone at 65 years old has some kind of medication they are taking, but they left without everything. And their doctor’s office may have been in Paradise, right? So, all those medical records have been lost. That's why they need physicians, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, those individuals that can write prescriptions to be able to get them their medications that they need,” Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder explained.
Van Gorder just returned to San Diego from a quick trip north to check in on his team and to see the devastation for himself.
“You can see in their eyes they don't know what’s going to happen next,” he said. “They lost their homes, maybe they lost some relatives in the fire.”
Van Gorder said there was a patient who had just started cancer treatment in the area but had to continue his treatment at a Scripps Hospital in San Diego because the fire took his home.
Cal Fire said that more than 12,000 homes have been destroyed and estimates tens of thousands more are living in local shelters or even in their cars or in tents on the street.
People with pets aren’t allowed to stay in some shelters, so they’ve opted to live in their cars or in tent communities.
The team of five is scheduled to stay in the area for at least a few more days, including Thanksgiving.
Scripps Health is waiting to see the impact of forecasted rainfall in Northern California before sending another team. If another one needs to be sent, Scripps says it has a fresh team ready to go.
According to Van Gorder, the response team was created after the September 11 attacks. The thought was instead of