Let me be frank – Sanjay Gupta annoys me.  He doesn’t annoy me like Ali Velshi does (listen to the book review) – that’s a different level of hell – but Sanjay gets on my nerves.  But let me tell you something – this took some serious balls:

(NEWSER) – As fears of rioting and looting mount in a desperate Haiti, UN doctors and nurses at a Port-au-Prince field hospital were ordered to evacuate last night, leaving CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and his camera crew to hold vigil over 25 earthquake victims. Gupta monitored the patients and stabilized some new arrivals in critical condition, but with no electricity or supplies, he said he could do little to treat them. The Belgian doctors, who had not wanted to leave their patients, returned this morning to relieve Gupta, who was pleased to report that no one died on his watch.

[ CNN Flash video not available. ]

I’d like to shake that man’s hand.

UN Docs Flee Hospital on Safety Fears; Sanjay Gupta Holds Fort [CNN]

I’m with you. I’ve always found him annoying, but this showed not just guts but a real sense of moral duty.

I think it turned out to be a good idea to turn down the Surgeon General position. He’s doing more of a service this way than he ever would as a DC bureaucrat.

You hear that, Kal Penn? Go back to House.

@Mistress Cynica: Who knows what sort of security they had, if any.

@blogenfreude: Gupta said in the clip that they had their own security, so there was something, thankfully, but probably not anything close to what the UN could provide.

@blogenfreude: @TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Did you see that Gen. Russell Honoré said the UN forces needed to “man up”?

@Mistress Cynica: When he’s on the ground there, he can criticize. Otherwise, STFU.

@Mistress Cynica, Bloggie: Another echo here – Gupta normally bugs me but I was totally impressed. Also did you see the footage of the interpreter for the Aussie tv station who in the middle of a story heard people screaming about a trapped little girl, and he went over and he was slimmer and smaller than the rescue crews, proceeded to crawl into the hole and bring out an 18 month old toddler who had been trapped in debris for over a day. The Aussie reporter stopped his reporting and whipped out his water bottle and started pouring it on the girl and giving it to her to drink. From a journalistic point of view, I have to say that the coverage I’ve seen has been much less sensationalistic than usual, and any “wall” between reporter and subject keeps coming down, in what seems to be an honest way. It also appears that the destruction is so intense that it’s really affecting the reporters. The first night he was there Brian Williams was telling Keiff Oh in response to a question about it that he was “putting all my emotions in a box over there.” By the next night his voice was cracking and I thought he was going to break into tears at one point. The secondary trauma the rescue crews, doctors, and reporters are experiencing is real. Hope NBC has good mental health coverage.

Mr. SFL was in Turkey after their 1999 earthquakes for work and it took him a long time to process and get over his PTSD when he returned from seeing pancaked buildings and bodies, and being unable to get the overwhelming stench of rotting bodies out of his nostrils weeks after he returned to the US. The magnitude of destruction compared to Turkey is exponentially higher.

@SanFranLefty: And the Aussie had to crawl over dead bodies to get to her. Faced with the same, I wonder if I could ….

@SanFranLefty: any “wall” between reporter and subject keeps coming down, in what seems to be an honest way.

I’ll have to withhold assent there, at least after watching Coop. Fine line between displaying empathy and indulging it for the camera.

@SanFranLefty: I didn’t write it down, but Thursday or Friday night I heard a question something like this:

“How do you feel after being trapped for two days?”

Spent the next ten or twenty minutes wondering whether I would have the presence of mind to offer the appropriate response.

(I think Larry King also asked a young American woman how she felt about having her leg amputated.)

@nojo: @nojo: I haven’t seen any Coop yet. My CNN viewing was when I was on the treadmill at the gym and of the buff hot guy – Jeff or Jason something. And Larry King just needs to be put out of his misery already.

I’ve been sticking to CBS and (MS)NBC. I’m old school that way – prefer the “real” networks and the “serious” anchors at a time like this. Probably from a childhood spent with every evening watching Uncle Walter. First thing I did on 9/11 when I was awoken by a friend on the East Coast was flip to my go-to CBS News so the old Texas newsmen Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer could help me make sense of it. I miss the soothing East Texas drawl of Dan Rather in a time like this, though.

@SanFranLefty: I’ve worried about the mental health of everyone helping/covering this, too. I get upset just watching the coverage.

@Mistress Cynica: You and me, sister. I am telling myself that if my tertiary trauma is this bad, imagine what it’s like for the people smelling the bodies. Really, until the teevee can transmit that, it’s not real, no matter how high-quality the photo or video might be.

That’s why I pet the neighbor’s cat all the more. Shit like this makes me realize my real calling in life was to be a handler to therapy dogs. If this country had universal health insurance, I’d quit my job and try to develop this line of work and franchise it.

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