Lafourche Parish physician addresses ongoing medical issues after Hurricane Ida

Louisiana

LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. (KLFY) — A physician in one of the hardest-hit areas of Hurricane Ida is speaking out, saying that since the storm ravaged Lafourche parish, the hospital he worked at hasn’t gotten much help.

He says the hospital’s closure is hurting residents.

“We have been, I think, kind of semi-abandoned by our government agencies. I have people that are still living with tarps and tents that do not have any kind of shelter other than that,” Dr. Gary Birdsall.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are suffering more than necessary because I don’t think we’re being heard. We’re hearing about other communities that were barely hit. They’re getting all these things and supplies, and they have it available. Our community is getting some help, but not to the degree I think it should be,” he added.

Dr. Birdsall worked as a family practice doctor at Lady of the Sea Hospital in Cut Off, Louisiana when Hurricane Ida hit.

It’s been closed since the storm. It’s a small community hospital he says many people relied on there.

Right now, the only medical care they can offer is a small emergency room they’re operating out of a neighboring doctor’s office. He says it’s not enough for adequate medical care.

“I’m trying to caution [residents]. You do not want to get hurt now. There is not adequate services to take care of you if you cut your leg with a chainsaw, if you fall off a roof, and hurt yourself in a bad way. There’s just not enough care available. We’re living in a very difficult situation,” Dr. Birdsall added.

It’s been over a month since Hurricane Ida, and he says the people hurting most right now in their small community are the people who need medical care the most.

“I just think it’s probably too long. It’s making a difference for some of the older, sicker patients. From what I see, all those vulnerable people who we used to just hold onto and just help them and hold their hand and get them to go from one crisis to another, they’re not doing so well right now. They’re having a difficult time making it through this crisis,” he said.

Dr. Birdsall says he hopes government agencies will step in soon to get emergency money and shelter for the people who still need it.

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