NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Seven years ago today, Hurricane Katrina dealt a devastating blow to the city of New Orleans. From his sister’s home in Houston, Dr. Christopher Bloom watched the chaos unfold.
“It was really a sinking feeling,” the now Dallas internist said. “To know that you’ve lost your home, you’ve lost your house, you lost your practice, you lost everything!”
For most of the nation, the haunting images of terrified survivors gathered at the convention center and Superdome defined the tragedy. New Orleans’ wealthy would not be found among them. But, the losses and the sorrow, they say, were all the same.
Doctor Bloom worried most about his daughters, who then were just three and 10 years old.
“The hardest part was the impact on my family. Getting my girls in school, and they had to transition to a whole new lifestyle, to see them go through that, when they already were established. They had to go through the suddenness of this change.”
Although they all survived, members of Bloom’s once close-knit and close-by family were scattered across the country. Family members weren’t the only ones that left the area. After Katrina, Bloom, a once well-established doctor, was left unemployed.
“All of my patients were displaced. There was nothing to go back to.”
Bloom decided to start over in North Texas. But, no one knew the well-connected New Orleans doctor here.
Despite the obstacles, at the age of 48, Bloom began again. It took more than a year to get licensed to practice medicine and get insured in Texas. Once those things were accomplished Bloom needed a niche and found it making house calls.
The doctor admitted he started the home visits as a way of re-establishing himself; but then realized he loved it.
“People are so nice and I like getting out of the office. I like seeing the patients. And some of these patients really need me.”
On his way to visit two centenarians, Dr. Bloom said the pair perfectly illustrates the need for the lacking medical service. Bloom has a number of elderly and homebound patients on his current client list and says it’s more convenient for them to have him come to their home and assess small issues before they have a chance to escalate.
Bloom said the task isn’t daunting and while his ambulatory practice has grown, he will continue the ‘out-of-office’ visits because he enjoys making the house calls.
As yet another storm took aim at New Orleans, Bloom said he’s convinced he made the right call in deciding to make North Texas home.
“I was just telling my wife, ‘I’m so glad I don’t have to run.’ But, then, of course, my concern is not running. My concern is family that was left behind there, friends that were left behind there, and hopefully, they’re going to do okay.”
As for damage from Isaac in the city of New Orleans, as of early Wednesday evening officials with the Army Corps of Engineers said the city’s bigger, stronger levees were withstanding the assault.
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