[saymaListserv] FW: an account of medical assistance to New Orleans survivors

Kathryn Potter listener at bellsouth.net
Mon Sep 12 00:42:41 JEST 2005


I checked this out - it appears thoroughly genuine. The major links remain.
It is clearly impossible for the news people to do the situation justice, or
they are just not doing so. It traveled step by step to the west coast and
back - a first-hand, uncensored account.

There's another doctor's report on Snopes.com where I checked this one; that
one is cited 'true' and is similar. This one is particularly poignant when
followed by the quote, I think. So many decisions led to this situation over
the years...

Kit Potter



> ----- Forwarded by David M Miller/GD/USGS/DOI on 09/08/2005 06:10 PM -----
>
>             Marith
>             Reheis/GD/USGS/DO
>             I                                                          To
>             09/08/2005 01:07          ,
>             PM                        >
>
>
>
>
> This account is about 4th hand but through a trusted chain of people, all
> government employees except the author of the letter.  You will be
> stunned.
>
> Marith Reheis
> U.S. Geological Survey, MS-980
> Federal Center, Box 25046
> Denver, CO 80225
>
> ----- Forwarded by Marith Reheis/GD/USGS/DOI on 09/08/2005 02:03 PM -----
>
>             Shirley A
>             Oscarson/GD/USGS/
>             DOI                                                        To
>                                       GS-G-CR ESP Federal Employees,
>             09/08/2005 01:37          GS-G-CR ESP Emeritus
>             PM                                                         cc
>
>                                                                   Subject
>                                       Fw: an account of medical
>                                       assistance to New Orleans survivors
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ----- Forwarded by Shirley A Oscarson/GD/USGS/DOI on 09/08/2005 01:30 PM
> -----
>
>             Robert B
>             Scott/GD/EMERITUS
>             /USGS/DOI
>
>             09/08/2005 12:28
>             PM
>
>
>
>
> Robert B. Scott
> U.S. Geological Survey
> MS 980
> Denver Federal Center
> Denver, CO 80225
> Ph: 303-236-1230
> Fax: 303-236-0214
> email: rbscott at usgs.gov
>
>
> ----- Forwarded by Robert B Scott/GD/EMERITUS/USGS/DOI on 09/08/2005 12:24
> PM -----
>
> Betty_L_Alex at nps.gov
> 09/07/2005 10:25 AM
>
>
> Bet
>
> "In our every deliberation, we must consider
> the impacts of our decisions
> on the next seven generations."
> the Great Law of Haudenosaunee (Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy)
>
> Betty Alex
> GIS Specialist
> P.O. Box 129
> Big Bend National Park, Texas 79834
>
> PH:  432-477-1146   FAX: 432-477-1153
> EMAIL:  betty_l_alex at nps.gov
>
> -----Forwarded by Betty L Alex/BIBE/NPS on 09/07/2005 11:23AM -----
>
>
> Subject: an account of medical assistance to New Orleans survivors
>
> All,
> The following is an email from a Doctor who volunteers in Big Bend from
> time-to-time.  He was in New Orleans, one of the first teams to arrive (I
> think on Tuesday, Aug 30).  He sent the message to one of our Park Rangers
> who works with him when he is here, so I know this is a for-real email
> from someone who was THERE at the beginning (or maybe the end....) in New
> Orleans.  I am sending it to as many people as I can, and please feel free
> to forward.  It is the reality we have to confront now.
> I have attached the same message as a WORD document.
> Read it and weap...... for us all.....
> ---***---
> Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 11:32:55 -0600
>
> greetings from the new orleans airport
>
> for those of you who dont know i am a member of the texas-4 disaster
> medical assistence team (DMAT).  we are a part of FEMA. i joined a couple
> of months ago and my team was activated 11 days ago.  for the past 8 days
> i have been living and working at the new orleans airport delivering
> medical care to the katrina hurricane survirors.
>
> let me start by saying that i am safe and after a very rough first week am
> now better rested and fed
>
> out team was the first to arrive at the airport and set up our field
> hospital.  we watched our population grow from 30 dmat personal taking
> care of 6 patients and 2 security guards well to around 10,000 people in
> the first 15 hours.  these people had had no food or water or security for
> several days and were tired, furstrated, sick, wet, and heart broken.
> people were brought in by trucks, busses, ambulances, school busses, cars,
> and helicopters
>
> we recieved patients from hospitals, schools, homes, the entire remaining
> population of new orleans funneled through our doors.  our little civilian
> team along with a couple of other dmat teams set up and ran THE biggest
> evacuation this country has ever seen
>
> the numbers are absolutely staggering
>
> site its seems silly that a bunch of civilian yahoo's came in and took
> over the airport and had it up and running exceeding its normal operating
> load of passengers with an untrained skeleton crew and generator partial
> power.  but we did what we had to do and i think we did it well
>
> our team has been working the flight line off loading helo's. overnight we
> turned new orleans airport into the busiest helicopter base in the entire
> world.  at any given time there were at least 8-10 helo's off loading on
> the tarmac, filled with 10-40 survivors at a time, with 10 circling to
> land, it was a non-stop never ending process 24 hour a day operation.  the
> cnn footage does not even begin to do it justice.  the roar of rotar
> blades, the smell of jet A and the thousands of eyes looking at us for
> answers, for hope. our busiest day we off loaded just under 15,000
> patients by air and ground. at that time we had about 30 medical providers
> and 100 ancillary staff.  ALL we could do was provide the barest ammount
> of comfort care.  we watched many, many people die.  we practiced medical
> traige at its most basic, black tagging the sickest people and culling
> them from the masses so that they could die in a separate area.  i can not
> even begin to describe to transformation in my own sensibilities from my
> normal practice of medicine to the reality of the operation here.  we were
> SO short on wheel chairs and litters we had to stack patients in airport
> chairs and lay them on the floor.  they reamined there for hours too tired
> to be frigthened, too weak to be care about their urine and stool soaked
> clothing, to desperate to even ask what was going to happend next. imaging
> trading your single patient use latex gloves for a pair of thick leather
> work gloves that never came off your hands and you can begin to imagin
> what it was like.
>
> we did not practice medicine
>
> there was nothing sexy or glamerous or routine about what we did we moved
> hundreds of patients an hour, thousands of patients a day off the flight
> line and into the terminal and baggage area patients were loaded onto
> baggage carts and trucked to the baggage area, like, well, baggage.  and
> there was no time to talk, no time to cry, no time to think, because they
> kept on comming.  our only salvation was when the beurocratic washington
> machine was able to ramp up and stream line the exodus of patients out of
> here
>
> our team work a couple of shifts in the medcal tent as well.  imagine
> people so despeate, so sick, so like the 5-10 "true" emergencies you may
> get on a shift comming through the door non stop that is all that you take
> care of.  no imagine having not beds, no O2, no nothing except some nitro,
> aspirin and all the good intentions in the world.  we did everything from
> delivering babies to simply providing morphine and a blanket to septic and
> critical patients and allowing them to die.
>
> during the days that it took for that exodue to occur, we filled the
> airport to its bursting point.  there was a time when there were 16,000
> angry, tired, frustrated people here,  there were stabbings, rapes, and
> people on the verge of mobbing.  the flight line, lined with 2 parallel
> rows of dauphins, sea kings, hueys, chinooks and every other kind of
> helocopter imanigable, was a dangerous place.  but we were much more
> frightened when ever we entered the sea of displaced humanity that had
> filled every nook and cranny of the airport.  only now that the thousands
> of survivors had been evacuated, and the floors soaked in bleach, the
> putrid air allowed to exchange for fresh, the number or soldiers allowed
> to outnumber the patients, that we feel safe
>
> i have meet so many people while down here.  people who were at ground
> zero at 9-11, people who have done tusanmi relief, tours in iraq and every
> one of them has said this is the worst thing they have ever seen.  its
> unaminous and these are some battle worn veterans of every kind of
> disaster you can imagine.
>
> watching the new reports trickle back to us has been frustrating and heart
> braking.  there is NOTHING anyone could have done to prepare for this.  it
> was TOO huge, even now its so big its almost impossible to comprehend. the
> leaders needed to see first hand the damage but did not because their
> safety could be guarenteed.  its a war zone in new orleans.  it is covered
> in raw sewage with no infrastructure.  every engineer i have spoken with
> believes that most of the city will have to be plowed into fields and that
> rebuilding what is left will take decades.  it will NEVER be the same.
> never.  ever.
>
> for those of you who want to help the next step is to help those who
> arrive in your local area.  the only real medcial care these survivors
> will recieve is once they land in safe, clean area far from here.  for the
> 50,000 people we ran through this airport over the last couple of days, if
> they were able to survive and make it somewhere else, their care will
> begin only when providers in dallas and houston and chicago and baton
> rouge (etc) volunteer at the shelters and provide care.  and yes there are
> many, many more on their way
>
> many of the sickest simply died while here at the airport, many have been
> stressed beyond measure and will die shortly even though they were
> evacuated.  if you are not medcial then go the shelters, hold hands, give
> hugs and prayers.  if nothing else it will remind you how much you have
> and how grateful we all should be.  these people have nothing. not only
> have they lost their material posessions and homes, many have lost their
> children, spouses, parents, arms, legs, vision, everything that is
> important.
>
> talk to these survivors, hear their stories and what they have been
> through, look into their eyes
>
> you will never think of america the same way
> you will never look at your family the same way
> you will never look at your home the same way and i promise it will
> forever change the way you practice medicine
>
> many, many stories to tell when i get back looking forward to seeing you
> all again
>
> we are VERY safe down here (now thank god) and we shall be home soon
>
> hemant vankawala
>
> Hemant H. Vankawala, M.D.
>
> Bet
>
> "In our every deliberation, we must consider
> the impacts of our decisions
> on the next seven generations."
> the Great Law of Haudenosaunee (Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy)
>
> Betty Alex
> GIS Specialist
> P.O. Box 129
> Big Bend National Park, Texas 79834
>
> PH:  432-477-1146   FAX: 432-477-1153
> EMAIL:  betty_l_alex at nps.gov
> (See attached file: dr.hemantVankawala.doc)

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