Tuesday, October 11, 2005

San Gabriel Morgue -- Dr. Thomas Stair

Dr. Stair's job was to look after the health of volunteer DMORT mortuary workers at a major morgue in San Gabriel, an hour north of New Orleans. From his diary:
Monday, September 12, 2005
Operations decided to eliminate the two-hour commute, and send strike forces out to New Orleans for the next three days, spending two nights in the cruise ship the evacuees refused to board. Volunteers have begun showing up for “medical debriefing” for demobilization, so I made up a procedure we can all follow. We had our first heat exhaustion case: a middle-aged mortician decontaminating bodies felt lightheaded. We stripped him out of PPE and brought him by wheelchair to the clinic, where he lay in front of a fan and we spritzed him with water and gave him two liters of intravenous saline. In two hours, his vital signs were back to normal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The weather just gets more hot and humid, so we have reduced shifts in PPE to 45 minutes. Public Health is starting up a vaccination clinic. Coast Guard is fixing the Internet connection. Amy continues coming to the clinic every day for minor complaints, routine health care and parenting she gets nowhere else. She left home in Oregon five years ago, at age 16, and has lived in a tent ever since with North Slope Catering, traveling from forest fire to forest fire. Nurse Sheila says she’s like the patients she sees at who have run off with the circus. Amy sits in the clinic air conditioning for a few hours each day and asks about nursing school. Today’s batch of remains was very decomposed. Vaseline on the upper lip mitigates the smell of decomposing bodies.
Via Majikthise, who remains a great source for New Orleans news.


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