In testimony last Thursday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in Washington, FEMA Public Information Officer Marty J. Bahamonde reported on the conditions that existed inside the Superdome in New Orleans after the passage of Hurricane Katrina. During that testimony, Bahamonde singled out the New Mexico DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) and made the following laudatory comments:
"While we battled food and water issues, rescue missions continued, more and more people arrived at the Superdome, and the medical conditions of many at the Superdome were in rapid decline, many people were near death. Working in absolutely deplorable conditions, the FEMA New Mexico DMAT Team saved lives. They worked with helicopter Medivacs to evacuate the most critically ill," he said.
"I would like to say that what has been lost in all of the discussions and criticisms of what did or did not happen in New Orleans, is that real heroes existed there and the FEMA New Mexico medical team did truly amazing things to save lives and make a difference. They worked 24 hours a day to treat patients and it can be said that without their work, more people certainly would have died. I am honored that I can call them co-workers because they are the best of what FEMA has to offer."
The New Mexico DMAT is based at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and is sponsored by the UNM School of Medicine's Emergency Medicine Department. DMAT is made up of volunteer nurses, physicians, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, pharmacists, and logistics and communications specialists from around the state who train to give urgent medical care at the scene of medical disasters.
The team has been deployed to provide care to victims of hurricanes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas and Hawaii, as well as earthquake victims in Los Angeles. The New Mexico DMAT also assisted in relief efforts in the aftermath of the Atlanta Olympics bombing and Cerro Grande Fire.
Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322