Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A letter about race and class at the Astrodome

To the Editor (New York Times):

My experience as a doctor treating evacuees from New Orleans at the Dallas Convention Center did not confirm the general impression of masses of poor indigent people.

I met many professionals, by and large African-American - teachers, hospital technicians, engineers and midlevel administrators, as well as skilled tradesmen and even medical students. Many had good health and evidence of good health care.

Some of the worst experiences I heard from them included swimming past bodies to get to the Superdome; families tying bodies to trees for later recovery; sleeping on feces-covered floors for days; helplessly watching elderly people and children die of heat exposure and dehydration; and having weapons aimed at them (emphasis added).

The emotional theme was anger and disbelief of the kind that might bring about political change.

Kathleen Delaney, M.D.
Dallas, Sept. 12, 2005