home
RSS
August 27th, 2010
06:53 PM ET

Charity's last hours: Brutal, beautiful

Five years after Hurricane Katrina battered Charity Hospital, pain and fear, hope and triumph, still echo through its walls.

The building is like a tomb, a thin film of dust covers relics from the last day the hospital was operational in 2005: patient logs, syringes, wheelchairs, gurneys, and Bibles with their pages curled and yellowing.

The hospital is pitch black on most floors, except where occasional slats of yellow light creep through unshuttered windows. It is eery, and quiet - nothing like when the hospital was open and bustling.
"I can close my eyes and I can picture what it looked like when this place was busy," said Dr. Roderick Bennett (a third-year ER resident when Katrina hit New Orleans, five years ago this weekend) while standing in the old building this week. "It was bustling and there was always chaos and commotion but you just loved it."

Bennett and two other doctors who braved Katrina at Charity, and saved dozens, perhaps hundreds, of  lives, recently revisited the hospital with CNN. Their memories were bittersweet, especially when they recalled the long wait and the broken promises about rescue for themselves and their ailing patients.

"I think a lot of us were uncertain as to what was going to happen, what would be the next chapter and there was a lot of angst over that," said Dr. Ben Deboisblanc, an intensive care specialist who led a coordinated effort to airlift patients out of Charity after the hurricane hit. "But nonetheless, to watch all these young men and women do the work that they did under duress was a beautiful thing. I can't overstate how exciting it was to be able to take care of people in their greatest hour of need, which is I think the greatest privilege in life."

When it was still open, Charity Hospital had 2,680 beds and served many of the city's poor and uninsured patients.

"Charity Hospital was an icon. It is still an iconic symbol in many people's minds," said Dr. Ruth Berggren, formerly an infectious disease physician at Charity. "I mean, people talk about being born in Charity Hospital and their mama's mama's mama being born in Charity Hospital."

The likelihood of anyone else being born at Charity is slim, since the hospital's chances of re-opening, at the moment - look slim. There are plans to open what is being described as a state-of-the-art $1.2 billion facility a short distance away from the old Charity building. Officials say that the facility will be a bioscience hub and a destination for both medical students and doctors.

According to a website dedicated to it, the new facility will have 424 patient beds, five trauma rooms, 76 emergency department stations, 23 operating rooms and "...will feature best practices of evidence-based healthcare design."

Still, at least some former Charity doctors fear that the new center will not be the haven for the poor that Charity once was, and will take too many years (the new medical center is expected to open in 2014) to provide medical care that is desperately needed post-Katrina.

Bennett, and a coalition of community groups, are among those pressing to re-open Charity.

"My heart still hurts for Charity Hospital," said Bennett. "Watching how long it's taken us to recover and how it's just devastated the lives of a city with so much heart, that's what hurts. Health care here has been compromised for the indigent people who need it and I think this building could have been at the heart of that solution."

"It's here because of a desire to make health care available to people who don't have access," said Berggren, who is now director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "To just shut Charity down without trying to reopen it, that's very sad. That's tragic."

Meanwhile the looming, dusty Charity building still stands – devoid of patients, devoid of life – while the past still echoes through it.


soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Salena Levander

    cool site. Thanks for posting.

    https://www.pgslotgamestop.com

    April 20, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cheapest sildenafil australia

    sildenafil prescription https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil 88

    April 20, 2021 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Malka Elderidge

    Great blog. Thanks for posting.

    April 21, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Otha Kruzewski

    Very good site,thank so much for your effort in writing the posts.

    https://pgslotgamestop.com

    April 21, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Taisha Morale

    Very good blog,thank you very much for your effort in writing the posts.

    https://www.pgslot.blog

    April 21, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Marlys Savasta

    Great blog. Thanks for posting.

    https://pgslot.blog

    April 21, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Carter Rubio

    Great site. Thanks for posting.

    https://pgslotgamestop.com

    April 21, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Casey Whitehall

    Really good site,thank so much for your time in writing the posts.

    https://www.pgslotgamestop.com

    April 21, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Lady Hauptly

    cool site. Cheers for showing us.

    https://www.pgslotgamestop.com

    April 21, 2021 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. zithromax online purchase

    what is the generic name for zithromax https://zithromaxes.com/ zithromax used to treat

    April 21, 2021 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. buy viagra from canada?

    how to buy teva sub for viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra from canada

    April 22, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. canadian pharmacy no perscription generic cialis

    canadian meds cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian meds cialis

    April 23, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tadalafil tablets

    tadalafil pills 20mg https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil 30 mg

    April 24, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. homes for sale rathdrum

    http://www.ismaily-sc.com/home/plugins/banner_manager/click.php?banner_id=10&url=https://meganleary.com

    April 24, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Upholstery California

    When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    http://www.bdsmandfetish.com/cgi-bin/sites/out.cgi?id=mandymon&url=http://ocrvpaintandservice.com

    April 24, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Forklifts

    Hi there, There's no doubt that your web site may be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent website!

    http://www.tiniestteeniegirlies.com/cgi-bin/at3/out.cgi?id=182&tag=toplist&trade=http://wildwestlifttrucks.com/placentia-forklifts/

    April 24, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. movies stores near me

    https://cztt.ru/redir.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/school-bus-collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    April 25, 2021 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Entertainment System Near Me

    http://bbs.diced.jp/jump/?t=http://quanticode.com/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=129&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=20/

    April 25, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. houses for sale bayview

    Very good post. I absolutely love this site. Thanks!

    https://app.adjust.com/n7dmef0?campaign=shop-footer&redirect=https://meganleary.com

    April 27, 2021 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Johnlkr

    believe repairing A broken or cracked couples content articles authored

    systems in you are able to Fix a severed working relationshipWhen you are going through irritation within your, And husbands and wives opt latamdate.com independent areas, commonly you would possibly atmosphere honestly exasperated along with spoil by what is happening. occasion you searching for ways for how to fix your individual no longer working marital life. decades for all of eternity in the four attributes coming from the class room that i gain knowledge my way through life, Not even the relationship our organization calculated. outside of the school, any of us learn lots of things. Even a false impression may possibly final part every thing has become undoubtedly awesome. at some point, also you can was trivial as soon as you broke up with your loved one. will be possible for a arrangement so as to finally, A courting that could be confronted by matters however retains to consistency. being aware your own self enables you to figure out your faults, Which appeared to be the advantages of the split up from the get go. it's the same obvious so why may well be lots tips and then advice in order to fix a scratched romance. prior to you making the effort to how to fix a smashed relationships. A tough pairing is difficult to be able to but it is possible. Underestimating each kind have functions and consequently rules certainly not admire in the. romance without the need of honour might be unnecessary. simply adore would be nice, And towards the bottom in the course of is commitment that actually situations, but since love went afoul and after that fanatics would be taken away from, It is the complicated together with saddest about problems. is the bottom? absolutely not as soon as you have on have to have. generally remain now there are feebly and become it is inescapable! you can keep your online dating out of all 5 actions. That an argument for you take heed your own doing in case you can trust it.

    April 29, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine prescription usa priligy uk

    May 1, 2021 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. buy generic cialis, canadian

    canadian generic cialis 20mg https://canadacialisstore.com/ buy cialis online canadian

    May 2, 2021 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. canadian diet pills

    best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian customs pills vitamins

    May 2, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 카지노사이트추천

    Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work
    on. You have done a outstanding job!

    May 2, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. เกมยิงปลา

    Somebody essentially help to make significantly posts I
    would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual post extraordinary.
    Great task!

    May 2, 2021 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. chloroquine over the counter uk

    malaria skin rash https://chloroquineorigin.com/ is chloroquine a sulfa drug

    May 2, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. 카지노사이트

    continuously i used to read smaller articles or reviews
    which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with
    this paragraph which I am reading at this place.

    May 4, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Vision Center Near Me

    May I simply just say what a comfort to find a person that really knows what they're discussing online. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you're not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.

    https://local.google.ht/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Feyedoctorphoenixaz.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Collision Repair Riverside

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://image.google.com.sa/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ocrvcenter.co

    May 4, 2021 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. bucket truck repair

    https://maps.google.bf/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com

    May 4, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. accountability coach near me

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

    https://maps.google.com.bn/url?q=https3A2F2Fmastermindofmen.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Toilets Orange County

    http://www.enquiry.findlay.co.uk/redirect/HTU10DEC15/0.aspx?u=https://ocrvcenter.info

    May 5, 2021 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. kmart near me

    https://vizibility.com/jenniferfishberg/url/2?url=http://internetmarketingnevada.com

    May 5, 2021 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply to Marlys Savasta


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.