Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, Monday

By Nick Gavin

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
-Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

I just wanted to draw people’s attention to an article in this month’s Annals of Emergncy Medicine: “Two Years Later, Every Day is Monday in New Orleans Emergency Departments” (Annals of Emergency Medicine, January 2008, 51 (1):66-69.).

With the loss of Charity Hospital, and rapidly changing demographics (more males, younger population, and more undocumented workers), access to medical care in the city has become more and more difficult as the number of people living in the city and surrounding counties creeps back toward pre-Katrina levels. One key reason for the ED congestion is the loss of so many primary care physicians. According to Dr. Alan Miller, Tulane’s interim Senior VP for Health Sciences, there were 617 PCPs before Katrina and 140 by April 2006. Lack of access of course leads to swamped EDs—especially in the context of the loss of the city’s only level one trauma center.

The situation in New Orleans is still pretty bad. Please share ways that health providers (particular emergency personnel) can help out.

Health Despair-ities is a column that addresses the day-to-day and global issues surrounding disparities in the administration of health care. Nick Gavin is a third year medical student at NYU School of Medicine who is interested in emergency medicine and the sociology of health care.

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