Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina's Spawn

I taped The Oprah Show on Katrina and started watching it yesterday. Two things I didn't know. (1) A police officer overcome with the horror and feelings of inadequacy committed suicide, and (2) I can barely write this, I'm so appalled...the medical workers put the dying in with the dead in the makeshift morgue at the New Orleans airport so that they could die in peace. Die in peace. I hope those poor people were so out of it, they did not know where they were, else they died in a living nightmare. This conjures images of genocides and the holocaust where the living were found in the piles of the dead or side by side with them. This also speaks to the sheer exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed of the medical workers. Fatigue and being overwhelmed alters judgement and the ability to think through a problem to find a solution. This was the wrong solution to handling the dying.

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2 comments:

Ayannali said...

I have a question for you though.. if there is no electrity, no clean water, no medicine for almost a week, what were they supposed to do?

Do you think that this was thier first choice, that this is somrthing that as medical professionals is against every fiber in thier being??

Please tell me what solution they had in the face of nothing but rising putrid water and no facilites in which to operate??

talk talk talk said...

Good question. The hurricane didn't lead to the dying and dead (the ones left in the streets to rot) being treated with such disrespect. It was the lack of good planning, not putting into effect what was planned, not reinforcing the levees when they knew for years a catastrophic storm would happen, not evacuating the poor and car-less in buses when they knew the storm was coming. In addition to the incompetence of FEMA, is it true the Mayor delayed calling for an evacuation, as ABC and PBS reported? Is it true the Governor of Louisiana delayed for 24 hours calling for help and the federal government could not go in without her permission? Is it true the anti-terrorist measures enacted after 9/11 led to hamstringing the Red Cross and other relief organizations so that they could not go in to help until they had written permission?

In the end, was there no dignified place in that airport, which I assume is as large as Toronto's given the population and its location, to put the dying? Why hadn't they preplanned triage centres all around New Orleans on the high ground? It was bad enough the most vulnerable and the most hurt were set aside, with no human comfort to ease their passage into death, but to put them in with the dead is still a travesty.