Haiti Injured Airlift Halted Over Cost Dispute

Fla. Gov. Crist wants help with cost of quake patients
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2010 8:26 AM CST
An injured man is brought into the MA1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team field hospital by US Army 82nd Airborne Division transport in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Evacuations of critically injured Haitians to hospitals in the US were suspended this week after a dispute arose over who would pay for their medical care, the New York Times reports. The flights were canceled Wednesday after Florida Gov. Charlie Crist asked the federal government to cover some of the cost of the quake victims being treated in his state, who already number more than 500.

Crist approached the feds after he learned of plans to send Florida 30 to 50 more critically ill patients a day indefinitely. “Florida does not have the capacity to support such an operation,” he wrote in a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services. The suspension, which was ordered by the military as hospitals became reluctant to accept new patients, dismayed doctors in Haiti, one of whom told the Times, “People are dying in Haiti because they can’t get out.”

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