Message from the Surgeon General
Excerpt from an email I received on 9/20: The Department of Health and Human Services deployed over 1,200 members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, our largest single deployment since the Korean War. We also issued a call for non-uniformed services individuals like you to help with the massive health and medical services relief effort. More than 34,000 Americans responded to assist in this disaster relief effort. Our response to the storm has changed as the needs of those effected have changed. Local communities throughout the United States are supporting evacuees. Those communities, their state governments, and the private sector are now better able to address their [sic]. The requests for assistance are declining in number and urgency, though we expect a continuing need in some communities for relief and respite of those currently providing services and the high number of persons being cared for. We have deployed more than 150 "unpaid, temporary federal employees" at the request of state and local health departments; and, we will send more. But, at this stage of the response, we believe that the extremely high demand for additional personnel that we originally anticipated will not occur. While we will certainly call on a number of you to help in the response, we believe those numbers will now be in the hundreds rather than the thousands. (emphasis mine) Summary: Don't call us, we'll call you.
***Three thoughts. (1) "Those communities, their state governments, and the private sector are now better able to address their [sic]." Is this truth or politics? (2) With Rita on its way and another two months of hurricane season still to go, I'm thinking the surge genrul's email might be a bit premature. (3) Kinda cool that 34,000 folks from the health care community offered to volunteer. I'm not sure how this totes up on a percentage basis, but I'm glad to see the number is in the tens of thousands rather than the thousands or hundreds. On the other hand, when I submitted my info at the Feds' HHS website, I was the first otolaryngologist to sign up. That makes me wonder what fraction of those 34,000 were MDs or DOs.
***Back to my hurricane fears. Especially scary: the high temperature waters of the Caribbean. (This links to a cute jpeg from NOAA.) Hurricanes draw their power from an ocean or gulf's warm surface temperatures. In the Caribbean, current temperatures are toasty -- if not at a record high, then close to it. If a hurricane arises in the southern Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean, it'll be a whopper. Maybe it'll smack into Mexico; maybe not. D.