By Tuesday evening four patients had died, and a dozen were dead by the time the hospital was finally evacuated Friday. Doctors believe half of the deaths were caused by the dreadful conditions in the hospital.
Everybody's suffering would have been eased if the emergency relief effort mounted by the hospital's owner, Universal Health Services in King of Prussia, Pa., had not been interfered with by FEMA. Company officials sent desperately needed water, food, diesel fuel to power the hospital's generators and helicopters to ferry in the supplies and evacuate the most vulnerable individuals.
Bruce Gilbert, Universal's general counsel, told me yesterday, "Those supplies were in fact taken from us by FEMA, and we were unable to get them to the hospital. We then determined that it would be better to send our supplies, food and water to Lafayette [130 miles from New Orleans] and have our helicopters fly them from Lafayette to the hospital."
Significant relief began to reach the hospital on Thursday, and by Friday evening everyone had been removed from the ruined premises. They had endured the agonies of the damned, and for all practical purposes had been abandoned by government at all levels.
When you consider that the Methodist Hospital experience was just one small part of the New Orleans catastrophe, you get a sense of the size of the societal failure that we allowed to happen.
Welcome to the United States in 2005.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Is this some kind of perverse political philosophy?
Not only must government not work, it must work against you?
Posted by Rmj at 9:15 AM