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Doctor Blog--Priorities During Major Disasters--Who and How

Posted Jul 07 2008 7:12pm

                                   Hurricane Katrina from Space (hurricanekatrina)

This comment comes from one of my readers named Heather.  She writes

aboutDr. Anna Pou in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit.

She brings up an interesting point which is that our priorities as a nation

are reflected in this case.  I would have to agree, unfortunately.

The questions brought up include how to triage in the setting of massive

natural disaster, who is responsible, how to address limited resources,

and how to determine how they are distributed (or who determines


It is a discussion worth revisiting.  Let me know what you think.                    

"I think if anyone should have been under attack it should have been the

doctors that left those patients alone to die. I do understand that, given

the circumstances, they were fighting to save themselves, however, it is

the duty of any doctor to put their patients first. If, in this case the doctors

had not left and stood by that duty...the situation never would have

happened. Those nurses, along with Anna, were very courageous for

what they did.

It is disgusting to be a 23 year old and see that, in a

profession I hope to one day be in, this is what happens when you

stand by your obligations.

We could very well point blame to anyone in that situation, including,

FEMA, and the United states government for not responding sooner,

or actually having a stable plan of action in place for a crisis such as this.

It makes me afraid of anything else that could possibly happen and for us

to not be prepared for. Why not prosocute the President of the United States?

It is so ridiculous living in the hypocracy of the United States at times.

We can send soldiers out to kill and be killed, spending trillions of dollars

a day to do it...however, when a doctor, who is willing to sacrifice themself

to save another persons life, does the best she can in given circumstances

and for the comfort of the patient, she is put on trial for murder..remind you..

everyone else decided to run when faced with disaster.

Everything is such a mess, and no one seems to have the right direction/or

priorities at this point. I think the point I am trying to make is that this case

stems far beyond Anna Pou and those 3 nurses that acted in such a heroic

manner. It stems back to what our priorities are as a nation."

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