ASGE President's Blog

Hurricane Harvey

By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | Aug 31, 2017

Dear ASGE friends,

IMG_3337Welcome to my first blog as ASGE President.  I never thought my first communication as a “blogger” would be about Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it has brought to Texas and my home town Houston.  This has been a trying and emotional time, yet the people of Texas have banded together and have extended helping hands to those in need. #TexasStrong Personally, I was fortunate to have a “near miss” with house flooding and only sustained water in my garage.  I know many who were not so lucky.  I have been touched by the outpouring of concern from friends across the country.  My hospital, Houston Methodist, sustained severe damage during Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, (Texas Medical Center suffered $2 billion in damages in 2001), and as a result, installed submarine doors to be closed in the event of impending flooding, and they were effective this time around. Other hospitals, nursing homes and extended stay facilities for families receiving health care in Houston were not so fortunate and many were urgently evacuated, much of which has been nationally broadcast.  Many families have had a complete loss of their homes and belongings.  Damage estimates vary, but may be as high as $160 billion when all is said and done.

From a close friend here from Missouri having treatment at MD Anderson Hospital:

“We were told this AM that we had to evacuate by boat.  We were picked up and rode a boat for two miles down a flooded road, cold, windy and raining hard. Dropped off at a locked church and then a truck picked us up and took us to another church with food, drinks, blankets etc.  Volunteers offered to take us to their home, they don’t even know us! You never know from one day to another just how fast your life can change. I just know God will always be with us.”

Natural disasters are tragic, yet often result in heroic actions and bring out the best in others as we reach out to help those less fortunate and in need.  I am proud to be associated with a society and group of physicians dedicated to helping others and willing to assist Texas in what is going to be a very long, costly and difficult recovery.  

ASGE continues to send its support and encouragement to our members and other friends in the region impacted by Harvey. Though our hearts are heavy with stories of loss, we are hearing uplifting stories about so many--including ASGE members -- who have been helping with evacuation and recovery efforts. We also know that some of our members have suffered substantial losses. We are concerned for our patients as well.

The society has made a donation to the American Red Cross on behalf of our many Texas members. There are many ways and places to donate to help the many thousands of people affected. Here is one curated list.  

This story is not over, but I am confident that the strong hands and hearts of people like you will help ease the ongoing struggle until we are fully recovered. Thanks to all for your help and concern. 

Please feel free to send your thoughts to

See photos:


Longtime ASGE member and faculty Waqar Qureshi, MD, FASGE, and his family assisted in the evacuation efforts via kayak and pickup truck.


Residents in some areas have been able to begin the cleanup effort.



Karen's street


Taken from Dr Qureshi’s truck