Friday, September 19, 2008
I feel sadly compelled to post this account from the LA. hurricane sagas. This perspective is never covered on the national news since it is entirely politically improper. Make of it what you will.
I am a nurse who has just completed volunteering, working approximately 120 hours as the clinic director in a Hurricane Gustav evacuation shelter in Shreveport , Louisiana over the last 7 days.
I would love to see someone look at the evacuee situation from a new
perspective. Local and national news channels have covered the
evacuation and "horrible" conditions the evacuees had to endure during
True - some things were not optimal for the evacuation and the shelters
need some modification. At any point, did anyone address the
responsibility (or irresponsibility) of the evacuees?
Does it seem wrong that one would remember their cell phone, charger,
cigarettes and lighter but forget their child's insulin?
Is something amiss when an evacuee gets off the bus, walks immediately
to the medical area, and requests immediate free refills on all
medicines for which they cannot provide a prescription or current bottle
(most of which are narcotics)?
Isn't the system flawed when an evacuee says they cannot afford a $3
copay for a refill that will be delivered to them in the shelter yet
they can take a city-provided bus to Wal-mart, buy 5 bottles of Vodka,
and return to consume them secretly in the shelter?
Is it fair to stop performing luggage checks on incoming evacuees so as
not to delay the registration process but endanger the volunteer staff
and other persons with the very realistic truth of drugs, alcohol and
weapons being brought into the shelter?
Am I less than compassionate when it frustrates me to scrub emesis from
the floor near a nauseated child while his mother lies nearby, watching
me work 26 hours straight, not even raising her head from the pillow to
comfort her own son?
Why does it insense me to hear a man say "I ain't goin' home 'til I get
my FEMA check" when I would love to just go home and see my daughters
who I have only seen 3 times this week?
Is the system flawed when the privately insured patient must find a way
to get to the pharmacy, fill his prescription and pay his copay while
the FEMA declaration allows the uninsured person to acquire free
medications under the disaster rules?
Does it seem odd that the nurse volunteering at the shelter is paying
for childcare while the evacuee sits on a cot during the day as the
shelter provides a "daycare"?
Have government entitlements created this mentality and am I
facilitating it with my work?
Will I be a bad person, merciless nurse or poor Christian if I hesitate
to work at the next shelter because I have worked for 7 days being
called every curse word imaginable, feeling threatened and fearing for
my personal safety in the shelter?
Exhausted and battered,
Sherri Hagerhjelm, RN