"We are grief-stricken by the tragic toll in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina at Memorial Medical Center and throughout the Gulf Coast region. When the storm hit on Aug. 28, we had 260 patients at Memorial. In addition, we believe that an 82-bed long-term acute care facility operated by LifeCare Holdings Inc. on one floor of the Memorial building also may have had a full census of patients at that time. Before the hurricane struck, some patients from other facilities had been evacuated to Memorial for safety because of its larger size, equipment and central location.
"There were, at one point, more than 2,000 people in the building, including our employees, physicians, families of patients and employees, and community members who took shelter from the storm.
"During more than four days with poor sanitation, without power, air-conditioning and running water, and with temperatures in the building approaching 110 degrees, some patients simply did not survive despite the heroic efforts of our physicians and nurses. We believe that most were very sick adult patients. No patients drowned nor did any die as a result of lack of food or drinking water.
"The hospital was surrounded by water as a result of the hurricane and levee breach. Land evacuation was impossible throughout the ordeal. By Sept. 2, we were able to evacuate every living patient from the hospital, often using private helicopters hired by Tenet after government rescue efforts were overwhelmed. The patients we rescued were taken out of the area to assure their safety. Some went to hospitals as far away as South Carolina.
"After Memorial was evacuated, we provided private security to protect the bodies of those who had died, and we asked repeatedly for their removal by the coroner. Because of the crisis, it took until Sept. 11 for the coroner to accomplish the removal. An official of the coroner's office has complimented the people of Memorial and Tenet for the careful and sensitive way in which these bodies were protected until their removal.
"We are grateful for the heroic effort that rescued most of our patients, but we also deeply regret all loss of life that occurred in Louisiana and Mississippi as a result of this unprecedented disaster."
Tenet Healthcare Corporation, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals and related health care services. Tenet's hospitals aim to provide the best possible care to every patient who comes through their doors, with a clear focus on quality and service. Tenet can be found on the World Wide Web at www.tenethealth.com.
Some of the statements in this release may constitute forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on our current expectations and could be affected by numerous factors and are subject to various risks and uncertainties discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2004, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and periodic reports on Form 8-K. Do not rely on any forward-looking statement, as we cannot predict or control many of the factors that ultimately may affect our ability to achieve the results estimated. We make no promise to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of changes in underlying factors, new information, future events or otherwise.