Doctors emerging as heroes of Katrina

Good article (requires annoying but free registration): AP Wire | 09/09/2005 | Doctors emerging as heroes of Katrina.


Disasters always spawn heroes.

On Sept. 11, 2001, many of them wore dark blue uniforms that said FDNY.

On Sept. 1, 2005, many wore hospital scrubs that said MD, RN and EMT. Thousands of health care workers stayed with patients in devastated hospitals after the storm struck. Thousands more rushed in to help.

They are people like Dr. Norman McSwain, a legendary, 68-year-old Tulane University trauma surgeon who on Sept. 1 waded through fetid floodwaters to get out word that thousands of people were trapped in hospitals running out of food and water.

And Dr. Rich Tabor, a 38-year-old Bethlehem, Pa., emergency medicine physician who got partners to cover his shifts and paid $520 out of his own pocket for a plane ticket to Louisiana, where he climbed into an airboat and went door-to-door with rescue workers.

And Barry Albertson Jr., 42, a paramedic from Easton, Pa., who missed his 7-year-old son’s first peewee football game to join a caravan of ambulances making the 30-hour trip to New Orleans.

And Dr. Lee Garvey, 48, an emergency room doctor at Carolinas Medical Center who dropped everything to staff a state-of-the-art mobile hospital that provided the only trauma care for seven devastated counties in rural Mississippi.

"We’re here because this is what we live to do," Garvey said, "trying to offer something to these people."

U.S. Lawmakers Vow Expanded Health Coverage for Hurricane Victims

via MedScape News: U.S. Lawmakers Vow Expanded Health Coverage for Hurricane Victims.

WASHINGTON, (Reuters Health) Sept 08 – Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate are pushing legislation that would dramatically expand federal funding for the Medicaid health program for the poor, both to states that suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina last week, as well as states that are now hosting tens of thousands of evacuees.

Currently, states share in the cost of Medicaid with the federal government. "But the states directly affected by Katrina, and those hosting the survivors, will not be able to put up their match payments due to the fiscal crisis that Katrina has created," said Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. "This is a critical issue that’s got to be addressed immediately," she said.

Lincoln offered an amendment to an unrelated bill in the Senate to do just that. Her proposal, originally offered by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., as part of a broader hurricane relief proposal, would make it easier for states to enroll eligible people in Medicaid, and would expand Medicaid eligibility to all people below the poverty line. In many states, individuals must have incomes well below poverty to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

The measure would also have the federal government pay the full costs of Medicaid in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama — the states hardest hit by Katrina — as well as the full costs of individuals from those states who enroll in Medicaid in other states where they are living temporarily.