Al Gore Rescues Katrina Victims

Al Gore was instrumental in rescuing Katrina victims from New Orleans on the fifth day after the hurricane hit and destroyed the city [1]. Two days earlier, Dr. David Kline and his patients were stranded at Charity Hospital, with food and drinking water running short. Outside was four feet of floodwater and alligators eating corpses. Dr. Kline sent out a request for someone to contact Gore for help. Kline had operated on Gore’s son after a life-threatening car crash. Eventually, Greg Simon, president of a medical treatment advocacy organization [4], received the request and emailed Gore, who immediately replied that he would help. By the next day the military had evacuated most of the patients from Charity Hospital to a field hospital at the airport, but they remained in serious trouble. Simon got two flights secured with American Airlines solely on Gore’s promise to pay for them. Gore lined up two doctors to be aboard, and pulled strings to get landing slots at the New Orleans airport and hospitals in Tennessee to accept the patients. Many in the federal government tried to get Simon to stop the private rescue operation. One Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official told Simon that FEMA did not need or want their help, and that the evacuation was going fine, but TV news reports showed otherwise. A military officer with airport operations told Simon that if his plane landed in New Orleans it would have to leave empty. Simon warned Gore of the resistance, but Gore said he felt they would succeed, and soon after left to catch the flight. After landing in New Orleans, Col. Dar La Fon, one of the doctors on the plane, spoke with the colonels in charge, who gave him full cooperation in loading patients onto the plane. Col. La Fon had run the military hospital in Baghdad after the invasion, had served with most of the colonels and had trained many of the airport doctors. The plane took 90 patients and members of their families to Knoxville, where warm and abundant help awaited [3]. Reporters could not speak with Gore, but could see him in the plane busy helping unload the patients. When the second flight landed in New Orleans, the rest of the ambulatory patients had already been evacuated by the military, so it took other refugees out. The doctors at the airport told Gore that the first flight’s evacuation of ambulatory patients was the “tipping point” that allowed them to take care of the bedridden patients. The doctors felt that the privately run evacuation had “motivated” the subsequent military evacuation. Gore refused interviews and credit, but the other doctor on the plane said “Gore told me he wanted to do this because like all of us he wanted … to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has [2].”



[2] ‘Al Gore airlifts Katrina victims out of New Orleans’ – AP

[3] ‘Mercy Flight Brings Evacuees to ET’ – Robert Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel


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By Quinn Hungeski – Posted at G.N.N. &

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