Thousands of patients await evacuation at New Orleans hospitals

It was a day of tragedy as hospitals throughout New Orleans found themselves caught up in the anarchy that descended on the city Thursday. Evacuations stalled at nearly all facilities in the city with the exception of Tulane Medical Center, which was able to airlift many of its patients to safety. At University Hospital, doctors and patients remained trapped only blocks from the Louisiana Superdome.

Doctors from Charity Hospital called the Associated Press to beg for help, saying they were out of food and water and had been forced to move to higher floors to escape looters. At another, a resident described tragic conditions with ICU patients dying in their beds as ventilators and other life support systems failed.

- see this story from the Chicago Tribune

PLUS: As lawlessness spread, sniper fire was reported at "nearly all hospitals" in the city, dashing hopes that patients could be safely evacuated. Story

ALSO: A resident at Tenet's Touro Hospital text messaged to say he and other doctors had barricaded themselves inside a supply room as armed looters roamed the halls outside. Story

FINALLY: For the time being, the American Medical Association says offers of financial assistance from doctors outside the area are preferred to physical assistance. Website