Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Crisis of Emergency Care--Note all links to news articles are from the Public Record, Researched, and Obtained using Google.

New Orleans' Emergency Rooms Overtaxed

Must listen to the audio about the plight of New Orleans Health Care. Is this America? Opening Charity could help allieviate this sitution. The Spirit of Charity Tent Emergency Clinic, East Jefferson, West Jefferson, Ochsner, Childrens, Touro Emergency Room, and EMS professionals are real heroes

Patients Needing Care Overwhelm New Orleans's Hospital System

Charity Hospital, once a magnet for some of the most severe medical emergencies - and for patients least likely to have insurance - is shuttered, leaving a jury-rigged emergency room under tents within the convention center. Dr. DeBlieux said 100 to 200 patients a day arrived with complaints ranging from major trauma or strokes to breaks and sprains....

"We have to wait hours to offload a patient," Dr. Saussy said. "That means we're not going to have that unit available to answer the next 911 call."

Mardi Gras Medical

(Tourist take Heed)
In two weeks, Mardi Gras parades will begin rolling in New Orleans, bringing revelers intent on proving they can still party in the Big Easy. Unfortunately, New Orleans is down to one working adult hospital. That is a recipe for disaster.

The city needs this celebration both emotionally and financially, but its stricken hospital system requires help to ensure that it is a safe one. Doctors say the biggest problem is facilities, specifically hospital beds. There are no psychiatric beds available for mentally ill patients. And the lack of primary care means emergency rooms are swamped with people suffering from less pressing ailments. Emergency patients in Orleans and other parishes nearby are currently stuck on ambulance stretchers for a minimum of 45 minutes and up to six hours while waiting for treatment, according to city statistics.

It's not enough. So far, the city has been unable to scrape together even small additions to prepare for Mardi Gras. Officials have asked for tents to expand the convention-center clinic and a mobile medical unit with 60 more beds for patients. But that is where the bureaucratic morass begins. City requests must be sent through the State of Louisiana, which forwards them to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for consideration. FEMA is still considering the request for the mobile unit, even as the clock is ticking down.
Charity in the News

State won't use FEMA money to renovate Charity Hospital

The State of Louisiana will not spend the $23 million it will be given by FEMA to renovate Charity Hospital, according to an official with the system.

The money is far short of the $700 million the LSU system is seeking to replace Charity with a more modern, but smaller hospital.

Iwo Jima's Damage Control Team Making an Impact in New Orleans
Armed with two of the ship’s P-100 and four electric submersible pumps, Iwo’s DCs have already removed 40,000 gallons of water from the flooded basement of the Medical Center of Louisiana’s Charity Hospital downtown.

“The waterline was almost at the top of the basement when they began dewatering,” said Charity Hospital Staff Member Dr. Jeff Johnson. “I am amazed at how fast they’ve been able to remove so much water. I didn’t expect this much progress for months. Amazing.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” said Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) Fred Clemmons. “[Our Sailors] have the talent, desire and motivation to get this job done.”

The dewatering team will work through the night, Clemmons added, removing water from the hospital at a rate of 1,900 gallons per minute. The hospital’s basement is expected to be completely drained by Sept. 14.

Building repairs ranked by urgency

BATON ROUGE -- Prisons outrank charity hospitals, and repairing the Superdome is more urgent than fixing university buildings, according to a list that ranks the state's priorities for repairing government property damaged by Hurricane Katrina.....

Some buildings on the list might not get repaired at all. The federal government will pay to restore government buildings to their pre-storm condition, but won't pay for upgrades. "If you had a sorry facility before the storm, they will restore you back to your sorry facility," Jones said.

In the case of Charity Hospital, for example, there is broad consensus among administration officials that the building was in such disrepair before Katrina that it would make little sense to rebuild it as a hospital. The state could instead use the repair money toward building a new hospital.

"If I have anything to say about it, we're not going to rebuild Charity," Jones said.



Financing plan for LSU hospitals and health programs not complete

Dec 27, 2005 BATON ROUGE -- Financial relief for LSU's hurricane-ravaged medical school and public hospitals in New Orleans is a work in progress, despite earlier assurances from Gov. Kathleen Blanco's top budget adviser that a funding plan would be in place this month.

Charity given 11 days to vacate Convention Center

Tents serve as a mini-hospital and treat nearly 300 patients a day, but now the Convention Center wants the trauma clinic out so construction crews can move in and begin repairs.


Public health care system in N.O. nearly broke say managers

The State of Louisiana wants to tear down the buildings that housed Charity and University hospitals and replace them with a single, state-of-the-art building. The cost of that ambitious project is estimated to be $560 million and so far, FEMA said they system is only eligible for $23 million to cover equipment and damage Charity’s basement.

Some doctors have told Eyewitness News that the hospitals merely need to be fixed and renovated, but either way the negotiations are slow and no money has been sent by the government.

My position

My position is that Charity may very well need to be torn down or significantly remodeled, in the near future. However, in the near term people must be provided with effective and efficient medical services.

Our people black, white, hispanic, asian, cajun, creole, Democrat, Republican, and Independent need medical services. The question is why as a state can we not buckle down and do what is needed now, then create a vision going foreward.

Remember no matter what happens a new hospital is a minimum of 3 to 5 years a way. This is a near term problem.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

These photographs were taken immediately after the hurricane, since then the governor has allowed the people of South East Louisiana to seek care in tents or wait for care sometimes as long as 24 hours for medical care. This is not a Republican, Democratic, or Independent issue this is an issue of the Governor not being willing to make executive decisions in the best interest of the people of the state and save the state hospital. Instead she wants to blame FEMA and President Bush for not caring for the people when she is in direct control of Charity Hospital. Now she is allowing her people to open University Hospital which did have flooding in the Emergency Room rather reopening Charity at least in the short term to ensure people can get quality medical care in New Orleans. Note the Hancock County Hospital in Mississippi lost its whole first floor and was operational by the end of January, just Google it and you will see the facts.














Note Charity's basement was drained on September 14, 2005 by the USS Iwa Jima's damage control team. As for the asbestos in the basement of the building, the basement can be sealed off from the rest of the building in the short term allowing for people to be cared for in the building. Instead according to WWLTV the tent hospitals might be moved from the Convention Center to Grocery Stores. The Blanco administration will not even attempt to do what is right for the people of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. Remember 70% of the doctors who chose to stay after graduation in Louisiana trained at Charity can we as state afford to loose this resource. As the state of health care in New Orleans so goes the state, too many of our professionals train there state wide.
This is state resource, when FEMA turns down a full buyout of the hospital what does Blanco's administration do it moves into the most vulnerable of the two state hospitals in New Orleans to flooding. This is a typical Louisiana temper tantrum you don t get your way so you deny services and tell the feds you need more money. After Katrina as people have lost jobs and insurance Charity is needed more than ever. The people of this state own this hospital, and deserve a second public transparent independent opinion of the damages. Our people are suffering yet the Governor can spend $600,000 to fix her office while the people of South East Louisiana can not get timely medical care, and surely do not have access to a functioning trauma center. Instead our state is begging FEMA for another mobile hospital unit to care for the expected rise in demand for hospital services during Mardi Gras. Even if a new hospital is needed it will take 3-5 years to build we need to do battle to save the lives of our people with what we got, not what wish for now. "While people die Blanco can not decide" this her leadership style.

To give you the mindset of our current administration these quote from Mr. Jerry Jones ( the man who approved the $600,000 walnut paneling and granite counter top remodel of governors office on the basis of safety hazards) says it all,

1. " Some buildings on the list might not get repaired at all. The
federal government will pay to restore government buildings to
their pre-storm condition, but won't pay for upgrades. "If you
had a sorry facility before the storm, they will restore you back
to your sorry facility," Jones said."
2. " In the case of Charity Hospital, for example, there is broad
consensus among administration officials that the building was in
such disrepair before Katrina that it would make little sense to
rebuild it as a hospital. The state could instead use the repair
money towards a new building."
3. "If I have anything to say about it, we're not going to rebuild
Charity", Jones said

Quotes from Febuary 3, 2006 Times Picayune article, "Building repair ranked by Urgency", Jan Moller author

*Note all photographs supplied by out of state rescue worker.

I guess the people who have nothing now don't deserve pre-Katrina health care.

Sincerely,

A concerned Louisianian