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Forward thinking: Bringing the Katrina decision home

Ken Beers writes in this week with tremendous insight. He's asking questions that focus our attention on what will happen when the fallout from the recent Katrina decision comes home to our communities.

Concerning the Katrina/Tenet health settlement, Ken writes:

Let’s extend the thinking in this case to rural America. Can a small one ambulance town have a class action suit brought successfully when the tour bus goes off the cliff and 48 of the 55 patients die since their nearest mutual aid is an hour away?

What an interesting dilemma. How do we prepare for every contingency? When have we planned enough? How much should we spend on being prepared for the “big one”. How does Mother Nature figure in?

It would appear that in this case, the hospital didn’t plan on the levy breaking and taking out all their ability to continue providing services. If this hospital’s evacuation plan was similar to many others I’ve seen, they were all set to depend on ambulances for evacuation of the sickest patients. This doesn’t work when it is a community wide disaster since the ambulances will be tied up on other tasks. So how do you plan for community wide destruction and continuity of service?

In a way this is both very scary and fascinating at the same time.

Thanks, Ken, for writing in on this!

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