Captain's Quarters Blog

« Iraqi Forces Training Faster Than Expected? | Main | Fabled Danger? »

September 13, 2005
Will New Orleans Death Toll Escalate?

CQ reader Pajamaguy points to this Washington Post report about the gruesome discovery of 45 bodies found at a New Orleans hospital that appear to have been abandoned patients that drowned in the flood. While that story may well wind up as one of the most disturbing -- who would have left 45 helpless people to die? -- the Post buries the lead past the jump. Only 279 deaths have been confirmed, and it doesn't appear at this point that the toll will escalate much further:

The city braced for more grim discoveries as the receding waters allowed search parties to reach isolated buildings. But the death toll -- 279 for Louisiana -- was still far below the initial prediction of the city's mayor that 10,000 perished.

"It's hot. It smells. But most of the houses we are looking at are empty," Oregon National Guard Staff Sgt. James Lindseth, 33, said as his platoon, inspecting for people dead or alive, worked its way through dank and broken homes that had been in the water a few days ago.

That prediction by Mayor Ray Nagin may yet still come to pass as more of the city emerges from the floodwaters. At this point, though, it will provide yet another example of the hysteria that finds its home with the unprepared and the passive, those who want others to do the work that should have already been done by themselves. The figure got a lot of press play because of its spectacular nature and because of the official status of the man proclaiming it.

The Exempt Media should ask themselves whether the estimate of 10,000 casualties had any other basis in fact. If so, they need to explain what else prompted them to report that as a reliable range. If not, then they need to rethink using reports from overwhelmed local politicians who used such estimates to shove attention off of their own performances.

This brings us back to the dead bodies in the hospital. Questions have arisen about why the city did nothing to evacuate the hospitals, which (again) comprise part of the New Orleans EOP:

The bodies of 45 patients left in a hasty evacuation were recovered from a New Orleans hospital, officials said Monday, as the city braced for the scenes left by the receding waters. ...

Officials said the bodies found Sunday in the Memorial Medical Center were left there after a frantic evacuation, days after the storm passed and floodwaters began to rise. An official of the hospital owners said the patients died before the evacuation and their bodies were left in the facility.

But the discovery was certain to raise new questions about why so many city hospitals were not evacuated before the storm. Two medical professionals inside the Memorial Medical Center said conditions began to turn desperate shortly after the floodwaters cut off roads. The darkened corridors were jammed with families. Drinking water grew scarce. Medical supplies exhausted quickly; even IVs were being rationed, they said.

"Things looked like they were going downhill quickly," said Scot Sonnier, an oncologist there. He left before the evacuation, thinking other doctors were handling it, he said.

Mayor Nagin's failure to follow the emergency operations plan again resulted in more deaths and unnecessary panic. The hospitals should have been the first sites evacuated when the voluntary evac order got published, and certainly should have been at the top of the list for the mandatory evacuation. The buses should have rolled to the hospitals before anywhere else, but even without the buses, the mayor's office should have contacted the hospitals and ordered them emptied by the Friday before landfall.

Will this gruesome discovery finally wake up the Exempt Media to the utter failure of New Orleans city management in minimizing the deaths and hardship of Katrina's effects?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 13, 2005 7:09 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Will New Orleans Death Toll Escalate?:

» Will New Orleans Death Toll Escalate? from BlogSpy.NET
We found this blog entry very interesting so we've added a Trackback to it on our site. [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 9:09 AM

» Assistted Suicide in New Orleans Hospital? from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
One could only imagine the agnony of these Doctors faced with this decision, no doubt more "horror stories" to come. [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 11:05 AM

» Like Neo and Bullets from
Via Captain’s Quarters comes an overview of the media’s obsession with the body count in New Orleans. Four years after 9-11, we should remember that the media is hardly breaking with tradition when their headlines scream “10,000 fear... [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 11:28 AM

» Evidence that hospital plans WERE followed from Llama School
Captain Ed is claiming that the city did nothing to evacuate the hospitals, which (again) comprise part of the New Orleans EOP. But looking at the SE Louisiana EOP and various accounts, there is evidence that the city/state did follow [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 12:23 PM

» No, the MSM will not, Captain, Sorry. from The Anchoress
I’m feeling extremely pessimistic about the press, these days, especially as they seem to be in a collective meltdown that precludes any chance of common sense and reality tearing them away from their carefully constructed memes. Ed Morrissey... [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 12:55 PM

» Body Counting from Depleted Uranium
I can reassure CQ that there's no chance of (10,000 deaths) happening - based on the latest reports I'm predicting that deaths across all states will be less than half the worst case 1,500 I estimated last week. [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 4:11 PM

» Death toll at 423 from The Bad Hedgehog
The death toll in Louisiana has climbed to a claimed 423 as a result of Katrina. As NUMEROUS prior posts here have noted, the fatality numbers are far less than predicted by Mayor Nagin and other individuals who made outrageous [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 7:37 PM

» Where are the bodies? from Antisemantics
Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters covers a question that's suddenly popping up, despite Kathleen Blanco's insistence that not enough is being done fast enough to find the dead bodies left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. CQ reader Pajamaguy points t... [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 9:47 PM

» Schoolmarm Leader:When the Command Structure Fails from Reaganites Unite!
A must read for those wanting to understand the problems that make this event unique and unlikely to occur elsewhere. [Read More]

Tracked on September 14, 2005 2:46 PM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!