With little information and no sign of relief, Pharmacist Louise Doley worked for days inside the New Orleans VA Medical Center. She didn't know what was going on outside because the TVs in the hospital were turned off to save generator power. Since the phones were down she was forced to leave with no knowledge of where her children or family members were.
Doley has since been reunited with her children and knows her sister is safe in a Louisiana shelter, but she also knows her home is under about 30 feet of water. Doley and several other VA employees went back to Louisiana this week to salvage what they could.
In many ways Doley is better off than most of the evacuees, the federal government is paying for her hotel room and travel and she'll have a guaranteed job at another VA hospital. But she and her co-workers sacrificed their own time and efforts to stay and help their patients and no amount of federal aid will replace what was lost.