Polite Dissent – Triage

First-hand reporting: Polite Dissent – Triage.

Last night, I was one of two physicians on hand as a plane full of New Orleans evacuees landed at our small airport. Our clinic provided 5 people (2 physicians, a physician’s assistant, a nurse, and a medical assistant) and our senior physician was in charge of the medical operations on site. Our job was primarily one of triage – deciding which patients need medical care and how quickly – rather than hands on medical care.

People straggled off the plane one or two at a time, clutching plastic bags filled with toiletries and other belongings. Several people held on to their cats and dogs tightly as well. As they stepped into the terminal, we’d give them a quick medical look-over and make sure they were doing OK. Volunteer greeters came up and directed each passenger and family to food and water and helped them fill out the necessary forms. After that was accomplished, they were taken to the first floor for more food and then loaded on buses to take them to their lodgings.

Read, as they say, the rest.