[saymaListserv] fwd: A New Orleans Ordeal as told by an MD in a hotel down there on Tues

free polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Thu Sep 1 21:45:43 JEST 2005

Dear Friends in SAYMA, AFM and the ACFWG and family,

I received this from Stanley Zarowin a F/friend I 
know through the Jewish Friends List which we 
both belonged to for many years.  I pass it on to you.

Holding all those souls in the Healing Light,


>A member of my Quaker meeting (North Meadow Circle of Friends) received this
>from a physician friend in Arkansas who received it from a physician friend
>in New Orleans. It's from Greg Henderson, a doctor with Johns Hopkins (I
>took the liberty of fixing some of the language a bit for clarity):
>Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers.
>I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2 PM .  I wanted to update all of you
>as to the situation here.  I don't know how much information you are getting
>but I am certain it is more than we are getting.  Be advised that almost
>everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from
>reasonable sources.  They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to
>send this dispatch today.
>Personally, my family and I are fine.  My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and
>I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans.  I
>figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine
>list.  In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street
>that could and did sustain little damage.  Many of the other hotels
>sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests
>may be evacuated here.
>Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today.
>Overnight the water arrived.  Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is
>indeed a canal.  The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater.  I
>have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to
>care for patients because of water.  Ochsner is the only hospital that
>remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are
>on generator and losing food and water fast.  The city now has no clean
>water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications.
>Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods.  We are worried
>about a cholera epidemic.  Even the police are without effective
>communications.  We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel
>that are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement.  This is
>tough because looting is now rampant.  Most of it  is not malicious looting.
>These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and
>no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families.
>Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous.  We hear gunshots
>frequently.  Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a
>low threshold for discharging their weapons.  We hear gunshots frequently.
>The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of  Styrofoam to
>access.  We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.
>The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight.  Many
>people in the hotel are elderly and small children.  Many other guests have
>unusual diseases.   They are unfortunately .  'We have better medical
>letter. There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HiV
>confection.  We have commandeered the world famous French Quarter Bar to
>turn into an makeshift clinic.  There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA
>and pharmacists.  We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility
>in the central business district and French Quarter.
>Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal  under police
>escort.  The pharmacy was dark and fool of water.  We basically scooped the
>entire drug sets into gargace bags and removed them.  All under police
>escort.  The looters had to be held back at gun point.   After a dose of
>prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.
>In all we are faring well.  We have set up  a hospital in the French Quarter
>bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many with be from
>the hotel, but many with not.  We are anticipating to dealing with multiple
>medical problems, medications and acute injuries.  Infection and perhaps
>even cholera are anticipated major problems.  Food and water shortages are
>The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard?  We hear
>jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the
>rampant looting.   There is no Red Cross and no salvation army.
>In a sort of cliché way, this is an edifying experience.  Once is rapidly
>focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of
>life.  It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care
>phyisican.  We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible.
>I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it
>all, this is a soul edify experience.  The greatest pain is to think about
>the loss.  And how long the rebuild will.  And the horror of so many  dead
>people .
> From the front.  I will send more according to your interest.  Hopefully
>their collective prayers will be answered.  By the way suture packs, sterile
>gloves and stethoscopes will be needed as the Ritz turns into a MASH
>Greg  Henderson

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