Discussion – week 5

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    Rachel Vargo

    1) Susan Mulderick’s decision to cease air evacuations from the Coast Guard definitely furthered the spiral of patient deterioration and deaths. There is no way she believed Memorial had no more patients that needed evacuated. Anyone with eyes and ears could see the hospital was continuously going downhill and desperately needed to evacuate as many patients as possible. She also stated her priority was Memorial patients, not LifeCare patients, but wouldn’t let them evacuate either. I honestly feel she deserves punishment for the way she handled things, as she clearly caused many patients to die that could have lived. I believe the large number of family members that helped inside Memorial was key in keeping patients alive. The nurses and doctors were obviously outnumbered by patients, so having family members to help fan and transport patients allowed them to care for many more people at once. It also allowed doctors and nurses to be more available for medical emergencies like code blues, instead of having to worry about less emergent patient needs.

    2) The man that flagged everyone to come down to the “rescue boats” was a looter who took advantage of the staff’s desperation so he could steal things. I’m sure nobody thought twice about believing him since they had waited so long and heard little about any help coming. On top of that, they were exhausted and had been in a state of crisis for days at that point. Pets were at the hospital because staff expected to be there for a while and eventually realized the things they had with them might be all they had once Katrina did its damage to the city. Their pets were considered family to them and would have probably died at home. The idea to use the Cloverleaf would have been great if they actually had a plan in place. They could evacuate patients much faster by taking them there instead of hospitals states away, but had no strategy to transport people from there or supply the Cloverleaf.

    3) I believe Mark was viewing the situation from an outsider perspective and was definitely bias since his sick mother was involved, but I also think he had a point. In his eyes, the hospital was a disaster and the staff was failing their patients, but he had no way of knowing why that occurred. The hospital administration and city’s horrendous lack of planning and urgency is what created the disaster he walked into, despite the amazing efforts of the nurses and doctors over the last 2 days.

    4) Their evacuation priority system didn’t fit within accepted triage practices and was pretty much the complete opposite of the idea to help the sickest people first, like in an emergency room. The people tagged with a 3 should have been the first to evacuate since Memorial no longer had adequate supplies or even electricity to keep them alive. In my opinion, this would have been the best approach and Susan Mulderick essentially stopped it from happening and caused the doctors to come up with their own priority system. I feel like the utilitarian approach leaves too much gray area and the outcome would depend on who was designated to make decisions, which could easily end badly. Organ sharing is such a difficult dilemma but I would lean towards the idea that whoever is seen to have a better outcome medically, should have priority.

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