Doctors at two desperately crippled hospitals in New Orleans called The Associated Press this morning pleading for rescue, saying they were nearly out of food and power and had been forced to move patients to higher floors to escape looters.
"We have been trying to call the mayor's office, we have been trying to call the governor's office ... we have tried to use any inside pressure we can. We are turning to you. Please help us," said Dr. Norman McSwain, chief of trauma surgery at Charity Hospital, the largest of two public hospitals.
Charity is across the street from Tulane University Medical Center, a private facility that has almost completed evacuating more than 1,000 patients and family members, he said.
No such public resources are available for Charity, which has about 250 patients, or University Hospital several blocks away, which has about 110 patients.
"We need coordinated help from the government," McSwain said.
..."We're afraid that somehow these two hospitals have been left off ... that somehow somebody has either forgotten it or ignored it or something, because there is no evidence anything is being done."
Hamm said there was relief Wednesday as word traveled throughout University Hospital that the National Guard was coming to evacuate them, but the rescue never materialized.
"You can imagine how demoralizing that was," he said.
Throughout the entire city, the death, destruction and depravity deepened even as the hurricane waters leveled off.
"Hospitals are trying to evacuate," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. "At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking pot shots at police and at helicopters, telling them, 'You better come get my family.'"