His role as regional coordinator with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals placed Dr. Robert J. Muller, M.D., at ground zero in providing emergency medical relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
His experience overseeing emergency management services in the 29 hospitals in and around New Orleans in the weeks following Katrina, one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history, prompted Muller to author his first book, Hospital Emergency Management: A Bible for Hospital Emergency Managers. His book, which became available on Amazon.com March 6, is intended as a textbook for hospital administrators and emergency managers preparing for large-scale medical emergencies. Having an emergency management plan in place is crucial to patient outcome.
Unfortunately, hospitals are often ill-prepared for large-scale emergencies, most often due lack of funding and focus on day-to-day management of medical services. However, Muller contends that perfecting the procedures for providing basic emergency medical services sets the stage for large-scale emergency preparedness.
“You have to be prepared on the basic level to be prepared on the grander level,” Muller said.
Muller, a 2003 Auburn Physicians Executive MBA alumnus, is a practicing physician in Slidell, La. In his 45-year medical career, he has served as the medical director of numerous fire departments, the New Orleans Police Department, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Department and Southeast Louisiana Search and Rescue, as well as the New Orleans Lakefront Airport. He served as a deputy chief of the New Orleans Police Department Search and Rescue, Hurricane Preparedness and Special Events. Additionally, he has served as deputy director of the St. Tammany Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness and deputy coroner in both Orleans and St. Tammany Parish.
“I’ve had a quite a bit of training in those real life situations,” Muller said.
His years of emergency management experience and training were tested following Katrina. As a Federal Emergency Management Level III incident coordinator, he coordinated emergency management in Louisiana’s southeast region. Muller’s efforts were based out of Tenet Healthcare in New Orleans in the weeks following the disaster.
“When Katrina struck in southeast Louisiana it actually struck in my region – region nine. They have nine designated regional coordinators throughout the state, and it just so happens, I was the one in place.”
Initially, Tenet was the only hospital open in the area, due to its availability of emergency power and staff. It’s 200-acre campus could accommodate medical helicopters and large-scale influx of patients, who were triaged for medical care and prepared for evacuation to regional hospitals outside of New Orleans.
Muller took detailed notes in the weeks that he provided emergency management, noting procedures and resources crucial to successfully responding to large-scale emergencies. Those notes became the foundation for his 110,000-word book.
The book’s detail in preparing an emergency management plan ranges from designating roles of various hospital staff to determining if a hospital’s generator will supply sufficient emergency power in the case of power failure.
Hospital Emergency Management: A Bible for Hospital Emergency Managers was published by CreateSpace, an on-demand publisher and member of the Amazon group of companies.
Muller and his wife, Susan, reside in Slidell. They have two sons, Ryan and Matt. In addition to his Auburn Physicians Executive MBA, Muller has a B.S. in chemistry and biology from St. Louis University and his M.D. from Louisiana State University.
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