John Tierney reaffirms his status as the only Times op-ed columnist worth considering a TimesSelect subscription for.
In this September 17th column, he relates how a private firm, the Acadian Ambulance Company, was virtually the only "island of competence" in the early days of the New Orleans flooding.
While Louisiana officials debated how to accept outside help, Acadian was directing rescues by helicopters from the military and other states. When the Federal Emergency Management Agency's paperwork slowed the evacuation of patients from the airport, Acadian's frustrated medics waited with empty helicopters.Oh, and here you go:
The company sent in outside doctors and nurses to the airport, where patients were dying and medical care was in short supply. FEMA rejected the help because the doctors and nurses weren't certified members of a National Disaster Medical Team.
"At one point I had 10 helicopters on the ground waiting to go," said Marc Creswell, an Acadian medic, "but FEMA kept stonewalling us with paperwork. Meanwhile, every 30 or 40 minutes someone was dying."While I am not a fan of crucifixion, per se, I think that we might want to think hard about where to find some surplus utility poles and crossties in Washington, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Mr. Creswell said he had ferried in more than a dozen doctors and nurses to help at the airport, but they weren't allowed to work because they weren't certified. This was explained with a line Mr. Bush might keep in mind as he contemplates expanding Washington's role in the next disaster.
"When the doctors asked why they couldn't help these critically ill people lying there unattended," Mr. Creswell recalled, "the FEMA people kept saying, 'You're not federalized.' "
And since it was apparently traditional to hang a sign around the crucified person's neck explaining what his crime was, for the edification of others, may I suggest the phrase, "You're not federalized."