Patterico's Pontifications


Report: Haitian Medical Airlift on Hold (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama put USAID in charge of relief efforts in Haiti instead of the U.S. military, and it seems they may not be up to the job. One example? The military has been airlifting severely injured Haitians to American hospitals but that may be on hold because the federal government failed to organize the transfers or arrange how to pay for their care:

“Health officials say the medical flights landed without any advance notice, and the poor coordination may be keeping some survivors from getting the help they need, Cherry said. He cited the case of a burn victim flown earlier this week into Tampa, which is not equipped to treat those injuries.

Crist said his state remains committed to caring for injured earthquake victims and reuniting families, though he was reaching out to other states to help care for them as well.

As of Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported that 526 patients had been received at hospitals in the state: more than 400 in South Florida, 76 in the Orlando area and 37 in the Tampa area. Four burn victims were transported to North Carolina, Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said.

“Recently we learned that federal planning is underway to move between 30-50 critically ill patients per day for an indefinite period of time,” Crist told Sebelius, saying Florida could not handle so many patients.”

Doctors in Haiti say they have 100 critically ill patients waiting for transfer who may die, including a 5-year-old suffering from tetanus.


UPDATE 1/31/2010 — The medical flights have resumed but the situation was even worse than originally reported. The flights were suspended Wednesday and won’t resume until tomorrow (Monday):

“Exactly what led to the suspension of medical evacuation flights was unclear, though military officials had said some states refused to take patients. Officials in Florida, one of the main destinations for military flights leaving Haiti, say no patients were ever turned away. However, the suspension took effect after Florida Gov. Charlie Crist sent a letter Tuesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying the state’s hospitals were reaching a saturation point.

The letter also asked for federal help paying for patient expenses – a request Crist on Sunday said could have been misinterpreted. He also said federal officials have indicated he would receive help covering the costs, totaling more than $7 million.
Crist also has asked Sebelius for better coordination of the evacuations.

The state had been relying on air traffic controllers at Miami International Airport to relay information about the evacuations because the U.S. military flights headed to the state without notice, David Halstead, the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s interim director, said Sunday.

“The governor’s request is, ‘Just tell us a plan,'” Halstead said.”

The 5-year-old girl with tetanus and 2 other children were taken to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

17 Responses to “Report: Haitian Medical Airlift on Hold (Updated)”

  1. Obama, you’re doing a heck of a good job.

    Old Coot (ddf8be)

  2. If Bush was President that 5 year old boy would be the poster child for how jacked up the aid has been to Haiti. That kid would be on every newscast for the next 2 weeks while they hammered the President with blame for failing to help the people of Haiti.

    Mike M. (5dfc3a)

  3. When I was in Pakistan back in the Jurrasic Period, the Army guys who were detailed there always had the highest regard for the USAID staff; but then, the Army guys were horny as hell, and the USAID staff were all gals.
    As to their proficiency, none of us had much good to say for most civilian government types overseas.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  4. Most civilian government types are doofuses.

    The whole Haiti thing is a great big huge cluster****.

    Vivian Louise (643333)

  5. this just proves that Bush Obama doesn’t care about black people

    Kanye West (fb8750)

  6. lets face it: there is only one organization that specializes in getting large amounts of cargo into an area and getting in distributed to people, even if there is little or no infrastructureavailable to do it with.

    it is not USAID, the UN, or any other NGO. letting any sillyvillian have even the most minor say in the how, where, when or why of anything in a situation like this is a recipe for epic failure, as this story shows.

    what they need in Haiti right now is a pallet of 100mph tape, so they can take all the India Delta Ten Tangos and tape them to their cots, so the GI’s can get back to w*rk and sort this mess out.

    put the DOD in charge and give everyone one else a nice big mug of fresh STFU. either that or watch people continue to die by the bushel.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  7. It sure worked when they put Gen Honore and Adm Allen in charge after Katrina.
    But, when you talk about “stuck on stupid”, it pretty much sums up 1600 PA ave.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  8. So the whole Haitian relief thing is turning into another Official Obama® Brand Clusterf***…?

    Gee, whoodathunkit ?

    OBloodyhell (aacc3d)

  9. There’s no clusterf*ck what our craven little president man can’t exploit to spend even more horrific amounts of money.

    Even ones what are his own damn fault.

    happyfeet (713679)

  10. oh. was I supposed to use more asterisks? Sorry.

    happyfeet (713679)

  11. You can borrow two of mine, Feet **

    Gazzer (583345)

  12. Yeah, but the US Military will get the blame. Just watch.

    LYNNDH (8d8b19)

  13. Does this sound like the dems in charge of Katrina?

    Jim (582155)

  14. Does this sound like the dems in charge of Katrina?

    The dem governor f**ked up; the dem mayor f**ked up, so let’s blame bush.

    Jim (582155)

  15. Doctors are healers. They become doctors to save lives.
    Ditto hospitals and nurses.
    Why should anyone be paid when they are saving lives? That sounds super greedy.
    Writing books. Now that is a honest way to make money because you really aren’t affecting other people’s lives. You write one book, and you can sell it for years and make millions. You don’t go into book writing because you have an amazing heart and brain. So you should totally get paid for that.

    But when it comes to taking in patients for the good of the world? Who stops and asks whose paying for it? Greedy people.

    (What is wrong with the US government here? Step up and say the Feds will pay, or stop being heroes. Don’t put it on doctors and hospitals and states around the nation.)

    MayBee (428267)

  16. It sounds like the media is trying to insinuate it’s the DOD’s fault.

    JO (9deaba)

  17. I’ve updated the post.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

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