This is from an email I got from my brother.  It’s an interesting perspective on the whole shelter/entitlement mentality of at least a percentage of those forced to be evacuated for Hurricane Gustave.  I assume it’s a letter to Bill O’Reilly, but am not 100% sure:

Hello Mr. O’Reilly

I am a nurse who has just completed working approximately 120 hours as the clinic director in a Hurricane Gustav evacuation shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana over the last 7 days.  I would love to see someone look at the evacuee situation from a new perspective.  Local and national news channels have covered the evacuation and ‘horrible’ conditions the evacuees had to endure during Hurricane Gustav.

True – some things were not optimal for the evacuation and the shelters need some modification. At any point, does anyone address the responsibility (or irresponsibility) of the evacuees? Does it seem wrong that one would remember their cell phone, charger,cigarettes and lighter but forget their child’s insulin?

Is something amiss when an evacuee gets off the bus, walks immediately to the medical area, and requests immediate free refills on all medicines for which they cannot provide a prescription or current bottle (most of which are narcotics)?

Isn’t the system flawed when an evacuee says they cannot afford a $3 copay for a refill that will be delivered to them in the shelter yet they can take a city-provided bus to Wal-mart, buy 5 bottles of Vodka, and return to consume them secretly in the shelter?

Is it fair to stop performing luggage checks on incoming evacuees so as not to delay the registration process but endanger the volunteer staff and other persons with the very realistic truth of drugs, alcohol and weapons being brought into the shelter?

Am I less than compassionate when it frustrates me to scrub emesis from the floor near a nauseated child while his mother lies nearby, watching me work 26 hours straight, not even raising her head from the pillow to comfort her own son?

Why does it insense me to hear a man say ‘I ain’t goin’ home ’til I get my FEMA check’  when I would love to just go home and see my daughters who I have only seen 3 times this week?

Is the system flawed when the privately insured patient must find a way to get to the pharmacy, fill his prescription and pay his copay while the FEMA declaration allows the uninsured person to acquire free medications under the disaster rules?

Does it seem odd that the nurse volunteering at the shelter is paying for childcare while the evacuee sits on a cot during the day as the shelter provides a ‘day care’?

Have government entitlements created this mentality and am I facilitating it with my work? Will I be a bad person, merciless nurse or poor Christian if I hesitate to work at the next shelter because I have worked for 7 days being called every curse word imaginable, felt threatened and feared for my personal safety in the shelter?

Exhausted and battered but hopefully pithy, Sherri Hagerhjelm, RN

As some of you may know I was in Shreveport, LA, for the hurricane, however I wasn’t witness to any of this. Unfortunately, though, I do not find this sort of report in the least bit surprising.

Hurricane Gustave shelter from a volunteer’s perspective.
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7 thoughts on “Hurricane Gustave shelter from a volunteer’s perspective.

  • Thanks Sherri for you words, I worked at the same Sams Shelter for La DSS and would be fired if I spoke out. you hit the nail on the head, we set up the shelter beginning on 8-29-08 and the evacuees arrived on 8/30/08 and began constantly pressing for things they should have brought themselves. it became a christmas in september for many of these folks.

  • This sense of entitlement comes not only from this situation but is epidemic nationwide. I too am an RN working in an ER and see the same people over and over who refuse to obtain a family physician “because I have Medicaid and I can come to the ER whenever I want”. It doesn’t matter that they are taking up a nurses time from more seriously ill patients for their free pregnancy test, “I need bandaids” for their stubbed toe and the foul language when they find out that we are not going to furnish them with narcotics to take home that they requested as soon as they entered the treatment room. There are so many who suck up the resources and those who really need our help ask for so little. It is sucking our health care system dry. What ever happened to personal responsibility – we now have reproduced several generations of freeloaders and they are growing rapidly day by day. Something is broken in our nation and it saddens me to see each new generation demanding more and more. When will it ever stop? When our nation is drowning in health-care debt to the point of bankruptcy?

  • I am an L&D nurse who also sees this on a daily basis. And while one cannot prevent most disease processes, they can prevent ( and do it frre through the health departments) pregnancy. Suddenly their lack of protection or personal accountability also becomes the tax payers problem. The list of complaints ranging from having to wait at the doctors office ( “i just though I’d go to the hospital instead, they don’t make me wait.” ) to lack of private rooms, meal service, free car seats, ect. goes on and on and on……

  • I feel like the biggest hypocrit because I am so angered by the way these people take and take and take from the system. My husband and I own our own business and are having a hard time making ends meet. We work very long hours so that we can keep the business going. Our problem is that because medical insurance is so high, we cannot afford it. When my son and daughter kept getting pneumonia because of their asthma and allergies, we finally decided we couldnt let our pride get in the way of our children’s health and got the government health insurance. I HATE going to the doctor with my children because I feel so embarrased and I do not ever go for myself or my husband. I have not been treated that great by healthcare workers because of the insurance we have but at the same time I understand exactly why they treat me that way. I would feel the same if I was in their situation. I have always felt like you should do for yourself and not take from the government. What do you do when you can’t afford insurance for your children? and act like they are entitled to it.

  • Why not give low-income parents the chance to prove themselves industrious? If they qualify for food stamps and subsidized housing, give them the option of applying those funds instead toward childcare vouchers valid at any state-licensed childcare facility. And, then give them vouchers for their children’s education, through high school. Undoubtedly the cost of education,even through college education, would decrease, and adults would have only their parents to blame for inadequate education. And then we’ll see who is procreating to gain the welfare check! While we are at it, let’s encourage every taxpayer who donates to a charity to choose one that matches local funds with locals in need, to provide LOW INTEREST LOANS for critically-needed items while teaching those in need to read the local, daily newspaper. Being low-income is absolutely no excuse for choosing to make poor choices in life. For inspiration, read, Bringing in the Sheaves, Transforming Poverty into Productivity, by George Grant.

  • This letter disgusts me. The more I see it posted on websites, the more I am thinking the LA State Board of Nursing needs to look into her complaints. Nurses and other professionals have ethics they are supposed to follow. For her to be this judgemental and publish it is evidence of her lack of a grasp on those BASIC ethical standards. This is a tragedy to see this evidence of how our healthcare system has accepted BELOW PAR so called professionals who practice JUDGEMENT and contempt. Shame on Sherri. Shame on all of you.

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