Mogadishu, Port au Prince, New Orleans

Dead bodies lying in the street, violence, looting, martial law, shooting at helicopters. Welcome, America to the Third World. Our society and civil infrastructure are a lot more fragile than most of us assume.

GruntDoc, whose hospital has just taken in a number of New Orleans dialysis patients wants to know:

…where in the world are all these cities and hospitals going to put these new patients with chronic illnesses? My place routinely holds admitted patients in the ED hallways. There are no empty hospitals waiting for new patients.

We are not ready for this, never mind something worse.

From the Boston Globe:

”We have the opportunity for things we haven’t seen in many years — cholera, typhoid, tetanus . . . malaria,” said Dr. Marshall Bouldin IV, director of diabetes and metabolism at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, the state’s only major teaching hospital. ”We haven’t seen health conditions like these in 50 years. . . . People are crowded together and they’re wading through sewage.”
The magnitude of the suffering will depend on how quickly government agencies can get supplies to desperate people, said Gerald Keusch, assistant provost for global health at the Boston University School of Public Health. He said a disease such as cholera, which spreads through contaminated drinking water, can infect large numbers only if authorities don’t distribute clean water. ”If there were an outbreak of cholera, it would be an indictment of the response system in this country,” he said

September 2, 2005

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