US halts Haiti victim evacuations

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  1. Dalton Wayne

    Dalton Wayne Epic mustache Millennium Member

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    Apr 5, 1999
    Central Florida
    US halts Haiti victim evacuations in 'medical bill row'

    [​IMG] Hundreds of quake victims have been flown to the US for treatment

    The US military has stopped evacuating Haitian earthquake victims to the US in a reported dispute over medical costs.
    A US military official told the New York Times flights had stopped on Wednesday as some hospitals were reluctant to take patients from Haiti.
    The decision came a day after Florida's governor asked the federal government to help pay for healthcare.
    Meanwhile, the UN food agency announced it had set up 16 distribution sites in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.
    Hundreds of patients with spinal injuries, burns and other wounds have been evacuated to the US since the 12 January quake that killed up to 200,000 people.
    'Reaching saturation'
    [​IMG] [​IMG] If they won't take them, we can't fly - it's pretty simple [​IMG]

    Kevin Aandahl
    US Transportation Command


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    Confirming the flights had stopped, US Transportation Command spokesman Capt Kevin Aandahl said on Saturday: "Apparently, some states were unwilling to accept the entry of Haitian patients for follow-on critical care.
    "We manage air evacuation missions, but without a destination to fly to, we can't move anybody. If we don't have permission to bring them, or they won't take them in, we can't fly the mission. It's pretty simple."
    He declined to say which states had declined to accept patients.
    A spokesman for Florida Governor Charlie Crist said he was not aware of any hospital in his state refusing patients.
    More than 500 quake victims have been treated so far in Florida hospitals, according to the New York Times.
    In a letter on Tuesday to US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Mr Crist asked the federal government to activate the National Disaster Medical System, which usually pays for victims' care in domestic disasters.
    He warned: "Florida's healthcare system is quickly reaching saturation, especially in the area of high-level trauma care."
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    The Republican governor's letter noted the system was already under strain because of the winter influx of elderly people.

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    Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme said its 16 distribution points in Port-au-Prince would reach many more hungry Haitians.
    The agency is also starting to distribute food coupons for families across the city, but only women will be able to collect the 25kg (55lb) of rice rations, designed to last two weeks.
    Correspondents say the move to exclude men from collection points follows unruly behaviour at queues.