BATON ROUGE– Beginning this weekend, New Orleans will see a surge of tourists and visitors to the city for Mardi Gras. The Department of Health has worked with the New Orleans City Health Department, the federal Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Louisiana Hospital Association and LSU medical system to provide medical treatment in the area.
“Typically, emergency rooms see three times the amount of usual visitors during Mardi Gras,” said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer. “Since New Orleans is still operating with reduced medical capacity because of Katrina, we worked with other groups at the city’s request to bring more health workers for support during Mardi Gras weekend.”
The additional medical services that will be provided in the New Orleans area for Mardi Gras include:
Two federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams have set up tents outside of Tulane Hospital, which is one of few hospitals in the area to reopen its hospital and emergency room, to relieve the patient burden at that facility.
A mobile hospital from North Carolina will be set up in a parking lot near the LSU Health Sciences Center complex.
LDH is sending additional medical supplies to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which LSU has used as a makeshift medical facility, to increase the doctors’ capacity to treat patients there.
The Louisiana Hospital Association has alerted its network and has hospitals around the state on standby to accept patients from the New Orleans area. FEMA will provide two air ambulances to be specifically used for transporting patients from New Orleans to the nearest hospital in the state that can attend to their specific medical needs.
The LDH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services is providing 11 volunteer ambulances to supplement the ambulance services that are already available in the city. The Bureau of EMS also will set up a staging area at the Convention Center to dispatch these ambulances as needed.
The New Orleans City Health Department will be releasing information on how people can access medical care at these and other city health care site during Mardi Gras.
“We are very pleased that we were able to assist the city, through our partnerships with these groups, to redirect a lot of patient care resources to the area,” Guidry said. “We hope this will help to ensure a safe and happy Mardi Gras season.”