US Resumes Haiti Medical Airlifts

Some patients will go to other states, Caribbean countries
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2010 7:01 AM CST
US Resumes Haiti Medical Airlifts
A woman injured in the earthquake rides in a US army ambulance while waiting to be airlifted in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Military airlifts of injured Haitians to US hospitals are set to resume today after a five-day suspension in the wake of complaints that Florida hospitals were overwhelmed and needed help footing the bill. In the struggle to aid the estimated 200,000 people injured in the earthquake, the flight suspension had quickly escalated into the "airlift scandal," with Florida and federal officials pointing fingers at each other and denying responsibility for the decision, the New York Times reports.

More than 500 Haitians have been airlifted to Florida so far and “a couple hundred of the most severely injured patients” will now be evacuated, a White House spokesman said. Heeding lessons from Hurricane Katrina, officials worked through the weekend to get commitments from states other than Florida, as well as Caribbean countries, to take in some of the patients. The US government and relief groups also pledged to create “a world-class trauma hospital” at the Port-au-Prince airport.

(More Haiti stories.)

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