Friday, January 22, 2010
Still No Central Distribution Center For Medical Supplies In Haiti
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
Dale Otto Remling was an inmate at Southern Michigan Prison in Jackson in 1975 when he came up with a great plan to escape.
He got a girlfriend to hire a helicopter for sightseeing. She forced the pilot at knifepoint to fly to the prison. He put the chopper down on the prison grounds. Remling got in. And it was up up and away to freedom!
It was a great plan - as far as it went. The problem was, he hadn't thought beyond the initial escape. So he had the pilot put down in a farm field and ran into the woods but was recaptured, not far away, just 30 hours later.
Sort of like the plan for Haiti.
They figured out how to get the medical supplies to the airport in Port-au-Prince. But they never planned on how to distribute it.
I watched this morning as CNN's medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, went to the airport to get medical supplies to bring back to a field hospital. The colonel he interviewed acknowledged that no one was in charge of distribution - and there was no central distribution center.
So the much needed life-saving medical supplies are left sitting on pallets or under tents on the tarmac. In the heat.
Which is also a problem. Because, as Gupta pointed out, many of the medicines - and blood products - need refrigeration or they will spoil. Yet, no one thought about that either.
It was obvious that the folks on the ground at the airport want to help. They have all the good intentions in the world. But no one properly planned for the distribution of medicines. So the flow to the hospitals is at a trickle at best.
In the meantime, some of the medicines and blood are spoiling. And injured people - so close to the medicine yet so far away - are dying.