News : 2017 : October

Alumni help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Michael Hughes, M.D., a fifth-year orthopaedic surgical resident, spent Hurricane Irma working a weekend-long emergency shift, hunkered down at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he treated broken bones and tended to the victims of the massive storm.

His wife, Olivia Hughes, M.D., ’17, an internal medicine intern at Jackson Memorial Hospital, was there as well, ready to pitch wherever she was needed.

But once the couple got the all-clear to leave the hospital, they found a tangled mess when they arrived home in their Brickell neighborhood – dozens of downed trees and branches blocking the roads and barely leaving one debris-cluttered lane open for both north and southbound drivers.

After checking on their apartment– which was undamaged, but without electricity – the couple grabbed gloves and a cordless power saw and headed back to the street to help clear debris.

“We figured we would help out anyway we could to help other people get home,” said Michael, a member of the Class of ’13 and PGY-5 in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

For the next two or three hours, they worked a ten-block stretch of roadway, sawing away at broken tree limbs, moving them out of the roadway, helping to clear one lane for drivers in each direction. Other people came by to help, and drivers waved and thanked them as they negotiated around the debris.

“No one was honking; no one was getting angry,” said Olivia, who will head to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center next summer for a residency in dermatology. “Everyone was doing what they could to help out.”

The couple said their decision to pitch in is simply an extension of the commitment to community they learned as students at the Miller School, and, for Michael, the surgical residency program. In addition to their own Miller School connection, Olivia’s father, Richard Bosshardt, M.D. is also a member of the Class of 1979.