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Last night, Laura, a category 4 hurricane, flattened Lake Charles, LA and many nearby areas along the Texas-Louisiana border. It missed us in Houston by a few miles. I fretted about my friends in the path all night and turned on the news this morning to find out just how bad it was in Lake Charles, which appears to have been where the epicenter made landfall. THERE IS NO MEDIA COVERAGE. I thought, “this can’t be right.” I tried news feeds. Then I tried YouTube. Where is the media? They are all at political conventions.

Did you know that August 10th, winds gusting up to 140 miles an hour (which is equivalent to a category 4 hurricane) destroyed 14 million acres of farmland in Iowa. It’s known as a “derecho,” and they occur without warning. The entire STATE of IOWA has been leveled. The crops in Iowa are gone and worse, the storage bins are gone. This is a looming national disaster that will affect U.S. food prices. Did you even hear about this? (Thank you to Fox Business news for doing a story on this.)

The same thing happened when tropical Storm Allison dropped 36 inches of rain on Houston in 24 hours. It was a rainfall world record until Harvey. The Houston Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, went underwater. We had what I believe is the largest evacuation in peacetime U.S. history. We evacuated more than 9 major hospitals including intensive care units, in the dark, with no power because all of the generators were under water. That means there was no power for ventilators. Family members and volunteers ventilated patients by hand with bag masks for HOURS while they were carried down dark stairwells in their hospital beds to waiting helicopters. I can’t even begin to describe the heroism of everyday people – or the fact that it took years to get this massive medical center back on its feet. Houston it the 4th largest city in the USA and it lost nearly all land line and most cell phone communication that night. A major city went off the grid, and no one said, “Hey, has anyone heard from Houston today?” You never heard about it because it was the weekend the Oklahoma City bomber was executed.

I still don’t know what happened to my friends along the Texas – Louisiana border. But I am even more worried about something else. Not only does the media decide what we WILL worry about (creating crises that do not exist) they also determine whether we even hear about REAL crises. I am talking about the kind of crises that jeopardize our national food supply and our offshore oil drilling capacity, that kill dozens of people and leave thousands of people homeless. We need some other way to get the news.


Dr. Fife sees patients at the CHI St. Luke's Hospital Wound Clinic in The Woodlands, Texas. For an appointment call (936) 266-2150.



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