My only surprise is that this hasn’t happened before. We’re rich and developed, sure, but pockets of people can still find themselves in straits as dire as those in a Third World emergency zone.
Reuters reports here:
Manhattan doctor Lucy Doyle has done stints with the global medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. But her latest assignment is a real eye-opener: New York City.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Doctors Without Borders has set up its first-ever medical clinic in the United States, and Doyle finds herself on the front line of disaster just miles from her day job.
“A lot of us have said it feels a lot like being in the field in a foreign country,” said Doyle, who specializes in internal medicine at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, now closed by Sandy’s damage.
A week after Sandy swept through New York City, knocking out power and public transportation for days, Doctors Without Borders established temporary emergency clinics in the Rockaways – a remote part of Queens that faces the Atlantic Ocean – to tend to residents of high-rises that still lacked power and heat and had been left isolated by the storm.
“I don’t think any of us expected to see this level of lacking access to healthcare,” said Doyle.
Read the full story for vivid descriptions of patients’ predicaments. Can it happen here? Oh, yes.
Hat-tip to On Point’s Karen Shiffman.