Emergency medical teams lacking supplies and money
| 01.18.2006 | 09:22:10 | Views: 2510 | ID:
January 18 '06: The nation's emergency medical teams, which respond to national and natural disasters, are lacking the necessary funding, logistics, staff and money needed to stay prepared, USA Today reported according to accounts given by Congress, industry experts and former Bush administration officials.
USA Today reported that during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, "The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which includes 55 teams of doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians and pharmacists who are sent in when hospitals are deluged, ran into major problems."Of those on the ground, many said logistics and communications abilities were not adequate as well as the necessary live-saving equipment and medicines. "The teams," the paper wrote, "often provide the only medical care during the first hours after a catastrophe." The NMDS is under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency - it was created in 1984 under the Department of Health and Human Services but was moved into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 by Congress. FEMA is a subsidiary agency of DHS. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said the NMDS "fell apart" after its incorporation into DHS and a report written by the former senior homeland security medical advisor to then-Secretary Tom Ridge, Jeffrey Lowell, found there were "significant gaps" in the way the agency was being handled, USA Today found. A spokesman for DHS, Ross Knocke, has said a review is underway to find new ways to "retool" FEMA, USA Today reported. "Knocke said the results of that review are expected as early as next month." Medical team leaders who are in the NMDS say the program itself is good at what it does but that in the past has suffered from a lack of funds and supplies.
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