'Significant gaps' reported in disaster medical system
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By MIMI HALL
Emergency medical teams that rush in to save lives after a natural disaster or terrorist attack don't have necessary supplies, training or staff and should be overhauled, according to members of Congress, former Bush administration officials and team leaders.
The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which includes 55 teams of doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians and pharmacists who are sent in when hospitals are deluged, ran into major problems after Hurricane Katrina. Ten teams that handled thousands of evacuees needing immediate medical help at New Orleans International Airport experienced communications trouble and a shortage of basic life-saving equipment and medicine.