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DATE: 9/9/2005
Arizona Physicians on the Ground in New Orleans

Scottsdale, Ariz. - Three Arizona physicians are providing medical care to victims and relief workers in the St. Bernard Parish-area of flood-ravaged New Orleans. Ken Iserson, M.D., Marc Levison, M.D., and Howard Besserman, M.D., are Tucson-area doctors who are members of an Arizona-based, federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team, or DMAT.

Dr. Iserson, who is Board certified in emergency medicine, told staff at the Arizona Medical Association about the difficult job the DMAT faces. The team includes the three physicians, a pharmacist and three registered nurses � all from Tucson. Dr. Iserson said they have turned the lobby of the Exxon-Mobil corporate offices into a make-shift medical facility.

“The devastation of this area is amazing; there is nothing left,” said Dr. Iserson via satellite phone. “Much of the area is still underwater.”

Dr. Iserson says the medical team is treating victims as well as relief workers who have been injured during rescue operations and in motor vehicle accidents. The DMAT arrived in Baton Rouge on September 3rd, but floodwaters prevented them from getting to New Orleans until Labor Day. He expects they may be there for a month. Dr. Iserson describes the cooperation between local, state and federal officials as very good.

Dr. Levison is Board certified in surgery and Dr. Besserman‘s area of interest is medical management.

The Arizona DMAT is sponsored by the University of Arizona and is a federally-run program. It recruits key medical professionals and then regularly trains to be prepared for disasters. Dr. Iserson said the Arizona DMAT has a total of eight physicians, as well as nurses and other health care professionals.

Source: Arizona Medical Association (ArMA)