The sad state of health care in New Orleans

They’re saying it will become worse before it gets better:

For whatever reason, more people are waiting to see a doctor until they can’t wait any longer. Then they hit the emergency room.

“The patients we are seeing are very sick,” said Becky Gab, operations director for the emergency department at Tulane University Hospital and Clinic.

About half the people who come to the hospital’s ER end up admitted, up from 15 to 30 percent before the storm, she said.

“Before the storm, diabetics would come in with high blood sugars,” said Brent Becnel, at the Touro Infirmary’s emergency room, but they were easily treatable. Now, when they come in, he added, they’re in much worse shape, needing ICU treatment to prevent a diabetic coma.

The shortage of doctors, nurses and even janitors has wiped out many nursing homes and nearly eliminated other first steps out of the hospital, such as rehabilitation centers.

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