[Mb-civic] 'There Was Real Heroism' - Washington Post
swiggard at comcast.net
Sat Sep 3 05:14:31 PDT 2005
'There Was Real Heroism'
Workers Rescue, Tend to Thousands
By Dafna Linzer and Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 3, 2005; Page A22
Hundreds of sick and stranded patients who endured four nights in
abandoned and flooded downtown New Orleans hospitals were rescued by
military helicopters yesterday and moved to Louis Armstrong
International Airport, where they had food and water but faced a new
kind of misery: waiting in an overcrowded and understaffed terminal for
transfers to medical centers around the country.
Two military C-130 planes flew about 200 patients to hospitals in
Atlanta but did not immediately return for more, emergency medical staff
said. With patients and storm victims numbering in the thousands at the
airport, and the heat exceeding 90 degrees, doctors rushed between the
sick and the weak, helping many but losing some whose illnesses overcame
Ross Judice of Acadian Ambulance Services sent out an urgent plea for
help at dawn yesterday, when he said a meager staff was trying to care
for more than 2,000 sick and injured patients, and eight to 10 patients
an hour were dying. By late afternoon, airport officials said 3,000
people at the airport were receiving medical attention in the terminal
and on the tarmac, including some suffering from dehydration and exposure.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who had set up
the makeshift hospital to handle hundreds -- not thousands -- of
patients, said they needed to move people out before more could be
accommodated at the airport.
Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.) said he spent hours on the phone
yesterday at Acadian's headquarters in nearby Lafayette pleading with
the Pentagon to send more C-130s. By evening, after a short break to
tour a center for storm victims with first lady Laura Bush, he still had
not received an answer.
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