Emergency medical teams that rush in to save lives after a natural disaster or terrorist attack don’t have necessary supplies, training or staff and should be overhauled, according to members of Congress, former Bush administration officials and team leaders….
Amid the continuing danger of terrorism and the specter of a flu pandemic, team members and health experts said it’s essential that the government maintain a robust emergency medical response system. The teams often provide the only medical care during the first hours after a catastrophe.
“The NDMS does not meet the expectations of our citizens,” said Jeffrey Lowell, who served as senior medical adviser to former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge. “We need and expect much more.”
The articles goes on to detail some of the challenges faced by NDMS teams during the Katrina response, such as teams showing up in New Orleans but lacking the medical supplies that they would need to provide emergency medical care.
For more on the problems of the NDMS, see this report by the minority staff of the House Reform Committee from last December.