Makeshift Medicine

A classmate of mine sent this email to our medical school:

To all faculty, students and friends of the College of Medicine, I am a 2005 graduate of the College of Medicine and a General Surgery intern at Tulane. I wanted to write and let everyone know that the three members of the 2005 graduating class at Tulane including (name omitted), (name omitted) and myself are well. My fiance, (name omitted) is here as well. She was scheduled to do a month of infectious diseases at Tulane. We have been evacuated and are out of harm's way. We
have all gone to different places so I can only comment on my current surroundings.

We are in Baton Rouge (about an hour NW of New Orleans). There is a facility set up at LSU where we are receiving evacuees. It's really quite impressive to see the outpouring of assistance, both federal and civilian. The basketball arena is a fully functioning hospital with a trauma bay, an ICU with vents, dialysis units, a makeshift OR, a helipad and a whole bunch of really grateful people. Our current job is to get patients off the helicopters and appropriately triage them depending on severity. I have many friends at Tulane and Charity who are currently trapped. In my eyes, those people are heroes. I got through to a fellow intern who was manually bagging a patient in the parking garage because it was the only safe place to stay away from people trying to break in. It truly sounds like a war zone. I got a text message from him this morning saying he would probably be air-evac'd today if people would stop shooting at the helicopters. Charity is in worse shape. Oddly enough, for such a huge hospital there is no helipad. They are transferring pts. and staff across the street to Tulane (literally across the street from each other) where there is a helipad.

We have all resigned ourselves to the realization that our homes are no more. If not destroyed by floods, then likely by looters or fire. It's all very sad really. I chose New Orleans to continue my training for a reason. It is a wonderful city, full of life and culture. It is truly a place like no other. On behalf of all my friends and colleagues, we thank you for your thoughts and prayers and want you to know that we feel your support, honestly. You are doing what you need to do. Thank your for accepting our paients and keeping us in mind.

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