One of the most cited pieces of evidence of the chaos in New Orleans was the report that Children’s Hospital was under siege by looters. I didn’t mention it because it didn’t seem particularly plausible. The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which had reported the story earlier today, has since published a refutation:
No Children’s Hospital Looting
Doug Mittelstaedt, vice-president of Human Resources for Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, said one of the biggest issues at the hospital on Wednesday was debunking the prevalent rumor that looters had stormed the hospital.
Mittelstaedt said things actually were operating smoothly at the hospital – the generator was running efficiently and efforts to relocate patients were going well – but fighting the rumor was a major issue.
Officials had to lock the doors of the hospital because people had arrived, apparently thinking there was a mob scene and they could get in on looting.
He said the hospital has been flooded with calls offering assistance from other Children’s Hospitals in Louisiana and Texas. “The amount of calls we have gotten for support have been overwhelming,” Mittelstaedt said. “The phones literally have been ringing off the hook.”
With so many calls, Mittelstaedt said officials have been able to match up the 100 patients with hospitals that specialize in the particular treatments for each.
So as bad as things are, they aren’t quite as bad as people are saying.