How nurses in San Antonio got us through the February 2021 freeze

Head nurse speaks with KSAT about sacrifices group made during last year’s weather disaster

SAN ANTONIO – Now that we’re one year past last winter’s freeze, KSAT is honoring the people who got us through it. Nurses top that list. Like all Texans, they too dealt with outages and freezing conditions. However, the nurses at University Health also put aside their own challenges to help the rest of us deal with an unprecedented disaster.

“I remember driving to work and seeing cars along Medical Drive or Babcock Road spinning out of control,” said Matt Lozano, patient care coordinator at University Health.

Lozano has been in the healthcare field for more than 10 years. Like many San Antonians, he remembers the nightmare that was last February’s freeze. With a community on edge because of the COVID-19 pandemic, losing power presented more complications for an already stressed group. Yet, some nurses remained at University Health for days. Instead of giving up, they worked longer shifts and got creative.

“Some of our nurses, they spent the night…and other charge nurses like myself, they slept in their offices,” Lozano said.

On top of that, nurses also had to deal with sicker-than-usual patients.

“The patients who presented here to the emergency department were a lot sicker…they were waiting to get care,” Lozano said. “We were stretched thin as well…our EMS systems were taxed during this time as well -- it was hard for them to drive.”

And then, there were the dialysis patients who lost power at home. Lozano said nurses added more to their workloads to make sure those patients got essential treatment.

“We were able to find…one of the community dialysis centers that was able to go ahead and take patients from here and all over the city,” Lozano said.

Reflecting on last year’s events, Lozano told KSAT he and his staff also learned a lot from the experience. Since then, his department has expanded its communication system, and continues to prepare for its next emergency.

“We have mock drills throughout the year, and that helps us plan to go ahead, and how soon our staff can get here to be able to go ahead and plan, [so we’re]…successful should another disaster occur,” Lozano said. “We’re here to take care of you. We take pride…our staff loves what they do, and they are great at what they do. We’re here for you.”

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About the Author

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.

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