Briella TomassettiSep 13, 2017, 5:31 pmSep 15, 2017, 8:01 am

Northwell Health nurses come home after week-long deployment to Houston

Another wave of health workers will be sent to Texas to help hospitals in wake of Hurricane Harvey


When Long Island Jewish Hospital nurse Emmie Dimauga-Corso got an email about volunteering in Texas to assist in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, she didn't have to think twice about it.

"I think my biggest worry about leaving was, 'oh my gosh, my house, my dog,' but then I thought to myself, 'wait a minute, these people don't have houses anymore, some of them lost their pets or their family members,'" Dimauga-Corso said.

Dimauga-Corso has been working as an ICU and CCU nurse with Northwell Health for four years.

She was sent to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston along with 39 other volunteers where the need for medical care rose to crisis levels after the hurricane.

The entire first floor of the hospital flooded and many of the staff members were exhausted from working days straight with no sleep.

But Dimauga-Corso, who has worked as an ICU and CCU nurse with Northwell Health for four years, was ready from the get-go to hit the ground running, especially after she had already volunteered in New York five years ago to help rebuild houses after Hurricane Sandy.

"We were ready to work seven days, 12 to 16 hours, we were so pumped. We were expecting to have no showers, sleep in tents, and work with head lamps on our heads," she said.

And she did put in a lot of time working four-day, 12-hour overnight shifts on the 22nd floor, overseeing oncology patients, many of which she said weren't too concerned about the disaster because they were in such good hands.

"Her enthusiasm is contagious, she is a cultured leader here in the hospital. She is always willing to help, going out of her way to help, and we were not surprised that when Hurricane Harvey hit she was the first person to volunteer," Long Island Jewish Hospital Executive Director Steve Bello said.

Northwell Health is sending 120 people from different hospitals down to Texas over a three-week period.

The second wave of volunteers was shipped off to Houston this past Sunday and will remain there through this week.

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