. . . and we need to fix it before the next major disaster strikes, whether it's another hurricane or — Heaven help us — a terrorist attack," said U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La.Another report slamming the federal response after Katrina. This time it is the emergency medical response that is criticized, something that should have worked better considering all that terrorist-attack planning that the feds have funded since 9/11.
It described doctors using manual resuscitation masks rather than ventilators for hours and patients lying on the floor in New Orleans' international airport.
It also said medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile failed to reach medical teams within 12 hours, as stipulated under disaster plans, instead taking three days to get to New Orleans — and even then there was a shortage.
No doubt, the doctors involved did the best they could under the circumstances. The point is: the circumstances should have been better.
The rest of the country needs to understand that the federal government failures in New Orleans could happen anywhere in the country in the event of a catastrophic disaster, natural or human-caused. It doesn’t matter how prepared the local officials were. All their resources were destroyed. That can happen because of a flood or nuclear bomb – which means it could happen anywhere.
The federal government response to a catastrophic disaster must be flawless. I think Katrina showed we're not quite there yet.