September 07, 2005
Atlanta's Incoming Survivors
Marilyn Ringstaff is an advanced practice nurse from Rome, Georgia. She is working with the Georgia Public Health
relief effort, caring for Katrina survivors at Dobbins AFB in Atlanta, Georgia.
September 7, 2005: I
was with Georgia public
health for our second day of emergency relief meeting the incoming Katrina
survivors at Dobbins AFB in Atlanta
yesterday. Sunday we saw the most
appreciative folks, but yesterday we were seeing a lot of angry people. These
are the ones who said they were forced from their homes at gunpoint who didn't
want to leave, or had been waiting on their roofs for rescue for several days,
or who had been separated from their families. I learned that in the three days
we were there, around 1500 people were screened and transported either to
shelters, hospitals, or nursing homes. They were exhausted, disoriented, and
many still in denial; mental health workers were present to talk with everyone.
I was there with several other nurse practitioners (NPs),
but we were so handicapped by Georgia's
My first family was a family of 10 people, one of the little girls was named Katrina and when I asked her name to start the paperwork she came up and whispered it to me so no one would hear her. Five of the family members had been on their roof since Tuesday, 5 days; they ran out of food and water. They saw the helicopters going back and forth past their house, they were waving t-shirts and anything they could find 'but they just kept going on by.' We taped Pampers on the toddler's feet because the Red Cross had run out of shoes and she loved it.
Another woman, Toni, didn't know where she was. I said
something like "Welcome to Atlanta,"
A family of 7 people arrived who had been sleeping on the bridge after reaching it by boat, and they finally decided to leave their home after the water started turning black from the bodies. They had a 3-week-old pit bull puppy with them -- they were feeding "Lady" with a dropper. Lady probably has Parvo and animal control took her to an Emergency Vet, no word yet on her condition. But I'll keep checking.
It's good to come home and see that our hometowns have so many relief efforts in place. All of these families are going to need long term support.
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