Hospitals in the middle of New Orleans evacuation

Emergency teams, doctors and aid workers from across the country descended on New Orleans and surrounding areas yesterday as the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina became clear. Hospitals in the area, of course, have been on the front line since Sunday. As plans to fully evacuate New Orleans were announced, the Louisiana Hospital Association said more than 10,000 people, including staff and dependents, are waiting to be evacuated from downtown hospitals. Hospital Association President John Marasino asked officials for troops to guard empty facilities after reports of looting at clinics, drug stores and nursing homes, including one incident in which a group of men hijacked a bus belonging to a long-term care facility and another where armed men forced doctors to hand over narcotics at Charity Hospital.

- see this story from The New York Times

PLUS: Acadian Ambulance, which is organizing the evacuation of the Louisiana Superdome reports that the operation was suspended after a sniper opened fire on a military helicopter. Story

ALSO: Hospitals in Houston braced for a record influx of patients from Gulf states considered likely to both strain resources and boost business. Story

FINALLY: For readers in affected areas, the CDC has posted guidelines for responders working and treating patients in the disaster zone. Website