In the Wake of Katrina: A Surgeon's First-Hand Report of the New Orleans Tragedy

Scott E. Delacroix, Jr., MD

In This Article

Friday Night

Word got to me that Ochsner Hospital had electricity and was open. I got in my car and drove to confirm this. It was true. Obtained more supplies and obtained some well-needed moral support from my residency director Dr. Chris Winters, who had been staffing the hospital through the storm. One hour later back at the triage center, with the population swollen to over 5000 at this time, I was brought a 26-year-old in labor. She had a previous caesarean section. Performed a pelvic exam on the I-10 with state troopers holding up sheets and cardboard boxes for some privacy. I spoke with one of the helicopter operators and a BLACK HAWK landed for a ride to Ochsner Hospital. Lost my shoes in the muck of the LZ and we were off. The pregnant woman, the husband, and a 4-year-old in my arms. We landed in a construction site behind Ochsner Hospital (the helipad was under water) and rushed her into the labor and delivery unit. From what I understand, she delivered the next morning. Gave an interview at Ochsner Hospital; graciously borrowed a pair of shoes from a nurse in the ER; then Jefferson Parish officers brought me back to Causeway and I-10. I spoke with 2 air traffic controllers from the military (Danny Page and Bill Sprake of the Airforce Special Tactics out of Louisville, Kentucky). We now had about 20 National Guard soldiers on the ground. Word was that we would begin to airlift these people out of here and to the airport. Finally transportation.


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