As the “Saints Go Marching” through their beloved city of New Orleans, it is perfect timing for an added celebration during the city’s week long Mardi Gras Festival of parades and carnivals. This is perhaps, just what this city needed to help continue to rebuild five years after the devastating hurricane Katrina.
In a city that was once literally sinking, the Saints final score of 31-17 in the Super Bowl victory over the Colts, is one of the forces pulling them ashore in an even greater surge and rebirth.
This is also however, the week where health care and emergency providers are taxed beyond their limits as they try to tend to the party related injuries and illnesses. The city is also concerned that their near capacity hospital emergency rooms will be unable to accommodate those in need of treatment.
Some of their medical facilities still remain closed after Hurricane Katrina.
Typical medical emergencies during carnival season include falling off balconies and alcohol poisoning. There is also an increase in those with pre-existing heart and diabetes conditions needing attention due to overindulging in alcohol and food.
Statistics show that even prior to the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastation, the people of New Orleans, La. faced some of the poorest health conditions in the country. I do not intend to put a damper on this week’s celebrations, but want to raise awareness of the plight that still faces “The Big Easy.”
According to a post Hurricane Katrina survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, life has not been “easy” at all with, “more than one in ten adults or 13 percent ranking their overall health as fair or poor.” The statistics were even higher among the economically disadvantaged with 19 percent of them ranking their health as fair or poor. The Kaiser statistics showed the percentage for the uninsured and those on Medicaid and Medicare were even higher.