The problem with the Red Cross

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2012

If you thought the official New York marathon statement about being cancelled was tone-deaf, just wait until you hear thison video, no less:

Gail McGovern, chief executive officer and president of the Red Cross, told NBC News’ Lisa Myers late last week that the response has been timely and well-organized: “I think that we are near flawless so far in this operation.”

This is chutzpah of the highest order: at least in the first dreadful days after Hurricane Sandy hit, the best adjective to describe the Red Cross was “invisible”, rather than “flawless”. One of the best ways to judge charities is by the way in which they learn from their mistakes and constantly improve; by that standard, the Red Cross is positively ostrich-like in the way that it refuses to admit that there was even a problem at all, let alone that it might have reacted better.

It’s incredibly sad, because the Red Cross is the default charity that everybody gives to whenever there’s a tragedy. Even I did so, not that I’m any great fan of the organization: I bought the Sandy benefit print from 20×200, and the proceeds from that are going to the Red Cross. But at least in the early days, and even now, it’s hard to find a Sandy-relief drive which isn’t giving its money to the Red Cross: whether you’re donating money at Chase ATMs, or donating your Starwood points, or whether you’re giving in response to a telethon, the Red Cross always ends up being the beneficiary. And in the case of Sandy, the amount raised is truly enormous: $117 million and counting.

The Red Cross loves to talk about its massive efforts, with what it claims is a group of 5,700 volunteers — but frankly I don’t trust the Red Cross’s numbers, given the many reports where the Red Cross higher-ups have sworn that they’re in a certain location and helping, even as no one who’s actually there has seen any evidence of them.

And in any case, the Red Cross doesn’t seem particularly capable of actually putting those 5,700 volunteers to good use. The real heroes of Sandy have been the much smaller-scale organizations, often built on an ad hoc basis. Occupy Sandy is the main one, and it’s been doing an amazing job, as Glynnis MacNicol recounts in a fantastic dispatch for Capital New York:

Almost without fail, what is being done in the neighborhoods I visited is being done by local community organizers or organizations like the increasingly impressive Occupy Sandy group…

At the end of nearly two weeks, the majority of which was spent traveling to the most devastated areas of Brooklyn and Queens, I could not tell you, nor could very many people I met, what government agencies a person could expect to arrive to help them in this disaster because I saw so few on the ground who might know.

This kind of story has been told many times, but bears repeating:

It was difficult not to conclude based on our surroundings that the neighborhood had not been served at all. Within five minutes of us setting up our goods in the empty lot, and without any real outreach needed, crowds began to appear—batteries, flashlights, disinfectants, diapers and blankets were getting snatched up quickly. It’s at this point the need began to feel overwhelming, and the frightening suspicion that help, official help in the form of city officials or large established disaster-relief organizations, was not going to arrive, started to sneak up on us…

While I was unpacking a garbage bag full of blankets one woman arrived with her daughter, who appeared to have Down syndrome, and asked if she could take two blankets instead of one. The feeling that I, or any of the volunteers, were somehow believed to be in charge of dictating what rations these families struggling in the cold could get struck me suddenly, and was obscene. I told her to take what she wanted. We left before the sun went down.

The next day Ben told me he returned to the same location to find a army of volunteers had arrived and an impressive organization had been set up. We had simply been the first ones out there—six days after the storm.

The Red Cross isn’t technically a government agency, of course, but it does work very closely with the government, and is treated as a quasi-governmental agency by those in need, and it certainly has many orders of magnitude greater resources than anybody associated with Occupy Sandy.

But here’s the problem: Occupy Sandy doesn’t scale. MacNicol admits as much in her piece: if we’d all given money to Occupy Sandy instead of to the Red Cross, they wouldn’t have been able to do more good than they did. The now-famous Occupy Sandy wedding registry is a fantastic idea, and has worked very well, but in general items are being bought just as fast as they’re being added. (Maybe buy some of the stuff on Congregation Beth Elohim’s list instead; they too have been doing a fantastic job.)

MacNicol’s story is one of a single man, Ben Heemskerk, with significant non-profit experience, organizing a relatively small group of his friends. Everybody knew who was in charge, and Heemskerk knew what his limitations were: he actually turned away volunteers he didn’t know.

Similarly, read Matthew Power‘s excellent article on what Doctors Without Borders (MSF) managed to do after Sandy, and you’ll see a similar dynamic: a lean and experienced group of people who know exactly what they are doing, going out and trying to make as much of a difference as they can, where they’re needed most. The trick is to move fast, to abjure any kind of bureaucracy, and to deliver help where it’s needed most.

The Red Cross can’t do that: it’s simply too big. This passage, from MacNicol’s piece, is key:

On Tuesday, one week after Sandy, some of our group went out in cars, and I and a friend were split onto a larger bus that was carrying a number of different groups. It was the first time I came into contact with volunteers not picked and vetted by Ben. The result was somewhat more chaotic; there was no clear leader and everyone had a different idea where our priorities should lie. To say that organization is the key to any useful relief effort is to say that the sun is key to daytime.

Things started falling apart, in MacNicol’s experience, just when the number of volunteers exceeded the number of friends-of-Ben. Imagine what would happen when the number of volunteers starts growing into the quadruple digits. They actually behave in a predictable manner: the overwhelming majority of them have a tendency to stand around waiting to be told what to do, while a few others bicker about what ought to be done.

This is inevitable when the number of volunteers grows much into double digits, and it’s exacerbated when the volunteers are inexperienced. Here’s Power, tagging along with an MSF doctor:

Suter had recently returned from a nine-month MSF mission in the Congo, where she had worked with a local hospital and helped organize small health clinics spread out around the countryside. “This really isn’t all that different,” she said, headlamp on, scanning a printed spreadsheet filled with the names and addresses of a dozen patients.

Now that’s the kind of volunteer you want manning an impromptu health clinic in the Rockaways. Disaster relief is something which can be learned with experience, and MSF volunteers have disaster-relief experience in spades. Red Cross volunteers, on the other hand, don’t.

And yet, one of the first things that the Red Cross did after Sandy hit was to say that it was “stretched thin” and put out a call for more volunteers. It’s very hard to tell whether all those extra volunteers actually improved outcomes: after all, each one needs to be supported by the larger Red Cross organization, and all of that support is effort which would ideally be expended on the needy. It’s a bit like adding extra stories to extremely tall skyscrapers: the added support those floors need, in terms of columns and elevator banks and the like, means that they don’t actually end up increasing total square footage at all.

The real problem with the Red Cross was not that it was stretched thin, but rather that it was simply too big, and its people too inexperienced in disaster recovery, to be able to respond nimbly to Sandy. Eventually, after a week or two, it will lumber in to affected areas and take over from the ad-hoc groups who provided desperately-needed aid in the early days. It’s reasonably good at that. But that’s clearly not good enough, and it’s certainly nowhere near flawless.

Of course, the Red Cross is burdened with massive expectations. If you’re stuck in a remote part of Staten Island without power or communication for days on end, no one’s going to blame Doctors Without Borders or Occupy Wall Street if you get no help — but they are going to blame the Red Cross.

With $117 million in donations comes an expectation that the Red Cross can and should be everywhere it’s needed, when it’s needed, rather than in a handful of places, a week later, offering food but no shelter or blankets or power or lights. But probably those expectations are unrealistic. The US is fortunate in that it’s not a permanent disaster zone: it’s not a country where Red Cross volunteers are ever going to be experienced in responding to such things. And mobilizing thousands of volunteers and tens of millions of dollars to provide food and shelter in areas without electricity or pharmacies or heat — that’s a logistical nightmare.

The Red Cross, in the event, proved incapable of rising to the occasion. Other large organizations did amazing work: ConEd brought power back, and the MTA brought public transportation back, in much less time than virtually anybody had dared to hope. But those organizations had experienced and dedicated workers who knew exactly what to do and how to do it, rather than a rag-tag band of well-intentioned volunteers worrying about what they were authorized to spend, and a fleet of trucks located in unhelpful places up and down the Eastern seaboard.

In the end, the Red Cross will probably spend much if not most of that $117 million — but not in the immediate aftermath of the storm, when the need was greatest. And more to the point, inputs aren’t outputs. If the money gets wasted in logistical infrastructure, it helps no one.

The truth of the matter is that if you donated money pretty much anywhere, after Sandy hit, that money probably didn’t do a lot of immediate good: at that point, it was too late for money to be turned into first- or second-day response. Ask any of the people who were working on the front lines, whether they’re from Occupy Sandy or MSF or even the Red Cross: money was never the bottleneck, and there was never a point at which anybody felt that if they only had more money, they could do more good. People didn’t need money, they needed gas.

Which isn’t to say that donating money is a bad idea, when disasters hit. But it is to say that donating money to the Red Cross might not be the best use of your dollars. My advice is to give instead to MSF, or an organization like it, which is dealing with disasters every day of the year. That gave them the experience ability to respond quickly when disaster struck in the USA — and it also means that if your money would be put to more urgent use somewhere else, like Zimbabwe or Honduras or Chad, then that’s where it will go.

We should spend as much money as is needed here — but don’t force the matter and earmark $117 million for Sandy relief, when no one knows whether even the Red Cross thinks it can sensibly spend that much. The Red Cross didn’t need to promise to spend all that money on Sandy and Sandy alone, but it made that promise anyway: “the Red Cross promises,” said NBC’s Lisa Myers very explicitly in her piece, “that 91 cents of every dollar donated will be used to help victims of this storm”. That was the last straw, for me: not only was the organization MIA for nearly all of the first week, but it’s now promising to spend huge amounts of money in New York and New Jersey regardless of where that money could be put to best use.

The trick to being a disaster relief organization is that you need the money and the resources before disaster hits, so that you’re prepared when it happens. The Red Cross should have used its balance sheet to go to work as soon as Sandy arrived, should then spend whatever is necessary for as long as it is necessary, and then should use whatever’s left over from its latest $117 million windfall to be better prepared for the next disaster.

Instead, the Red Cross is promising to spend that whole $117 million down to nothing, leaving it just where it started this time around. Which was clearly inadequate.

And that’s why there are surely better places for you to send your money.

23 comments

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Wow, people are capable of organizing themselves to help their communities without direction from external organizations. Who would have thought such a thing was possible?

Posted by Bill.D | Report as abusive

Excellent article Mr Salmon. It carries a fair amount of down-to-earth integrity. In a way The Red Cross is a prisoner of its own success as outlined throughout your article. It’s like the preverbial “oil tanker” – just takes a long time to jump start a large group of well meaning good thinking people into effective action.
I hope some senior people in Switzerland take heed on what you have to say about how to harnass large amount of money sent by by a alot of sensible people.
Regards,

Posted by TweetFromMe2You | Report as abusive

Felix,

This is an excellent article. Thanks for the analysis and thoughtful insight into the problem with the Red Cross.

I’d be interested in also getting your opinion on how much the Red Cross charges in administrative fees. Charity Navigator puts administrative expenses at 4% and fundraising expenses at 3.7%. These figures seem astronomically high and an insult to the donations and their intended use. By way of comparison I think of how the fund management industry has been evaluated based on their expense ratios and how competitive pressures have driven many funds below 2% (which even then seems high).

So what keeps charities such as the Red Cross from devoting an even larger percentage of their funds to the cause? Why is there not a greater collective outrage from donors about such a large percentage going toward administrative expenses? With an organization as large as the Red Cross, and as you’ve said above, the de facto charity cause during times of crisis, why in the world do they need to devote 3.7% (!) of their funds to fundraising?

I’m not a Pollyanna on this issue but is it reasonable to expect charities to devote 98% – 99% of their raised funds to the causes they profess to support?

MSF that you highlight above has an administrative expense of 0.9% (though fundraising is 9.7%, which seems high). Should not the Red Cross aim for a similar 0.9% figure? Or better yet, shouldn’t donors demand it?

Posted by EricHazard | Report as abusive

FS, Hugh Hendry and Niall Ferguson – the top-tier of Scots ‘thinkers’ really are in a class by themselves in their respective fields. Cryin’ damn shame that Ferguson has been contaminated by Harvard, Hendry is now camera-shy and FS is stuck with this ham-handed, third-rate Reuters blog-operation. Maybe it has to be this way. IDK.

Oh well, back to TE.

Posted by MrRFox | Report as abusive

It’s interesting that you start with a throw-away complaint about NYRR, and then go on to give the best explanation I’ve yet seen of the case for running the marathon. Certainly it would have been reasonable to expect Bloomberg to realize earlier that people’s feelings would be hurt by such a visible event, and an early concession to anticipated emotional blackmail would have been better than waiting until later, but let’s not pretend that the only good reason to cancel the marathon amounted, ultimately, to enabling envy.

Posted by dWj | Report as abusive

@EricHazard, to a first approximation you can consider cost ratios to be completely meaningless. Virtually any nonprofit has a huge amount of leeway with how they categorize various expenditures, whether they’re “program-related” or whether they’re “administrative”, etc. The important thing isn’t how much money they say that they’re spending on causes, it’s how much good that money does.

Posted by FelixSalmon | Report as abusive

Well Done, Felix.

All I would add is that the Red Cross leadership clearly lacks a brain and a heart. They repeatedly refuse to include people’s pets in their plans.

Refugees have few choices, but I would no sooner go into a relatively comfortable tent or building and leave my pets to drown, freeze, starve or wander for the rest of their lives than I would abandon any other family members. To continue to ignore workable arrangements for people with pets again and again as a matter of policy is a decision they absolutely know puts PEOPLE like me at unnecessary risk.

You correctly bring Red Cross efficiency, the ability to do many things, into question. I would point out that their effectiveness, the ability to do the RIGHT things with the RIGHT priority, is conspicuously absent.

People who donate have done THEIR part; and it’s up to the Red Cross, etc., to use it well. When they don’t, I say it’s time to change the “coach” or the “team” or whatever and take whatever steps are necessary to create a genuine “can do” organization that will be in a position to offer more than excuses.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

That is some nice Monday morning quarterbacking.

And “OneOfTheSHeep, pets? Pets? You need to get a grip.

Posted by QCIC | Report as abusive

Great reply from Felix on cost ratios, but here’s another thing to think about? Let’s say you’re a nonprofit with a budget of $10 million. Let’s also say that if you hire $500,000 worth of talent in development staff, you can raise an extra $2 million to devote to your mission. Should you do this? Logic suggests that you should! But low and behold, even though your nonprofit has an extra $1.5 million now to help people, fundraising accounts for 4.2% of your budget, which Eric thinks is too high.

Money doesn’t fall out of trees for nonprofits, they have to market themselves and write compelling grants, and to do that, they need to pay experienced professionals. It is money well spent, and money they needed to spend in order to spend even more money helping people.

This isn’t a defense of the Red Cross per se, as I agree with many of Felix’s points. But it is important to understand that this is how the nonprofit sector operates, and how it needs to operate.

Posted by coien | Report as abusive

Please think carefully about how The Red Cross–and other disaster relief organizations–actually work.

The Red Cross and other relief organizations already existed before Hurricane Sandy, right? So before they were needed, they have to have had offices in place to get information and coordinate their responses. No organization runs out the night before a disaster and buys 50 trucks off a car showroom floor.

Relief agencies need donations independent of any specific disaster.

Agencies need vehicles to get to disasters to help the affected people. These are usually vans and trucks. These need gas, oil, tires, inspection, maintenance, and insurance–all of which costs money. The supplies distributed to people who need them–cots, cleanup kits, water, nonperishable food, clothing, blankets–already have to be purchased and in storage before a disaster hits. No one can wait days or weeks for them to be ordered and shipped to a disaster site.

By the way–supplies do have to be stored far enough away from a storm’s path to be safe. A fully loaded, many-thousand-dollar tractor trailer is useless if it is blown into the ocean during a storm. Storage = warehouse, which needs insurance, electricity, ventilation, security, etc.

Agency offices need electricity, water, computers, Internet access, phones, phone service, printers, paper, toner, pens, furniture–none of which is free on a continuing basis.

People are needed to produce reports that donors want and deserve, and to supervise the spending of money to make sure it is not wasted and supplies purchased are actually obtained. Staff people need to be paid living wages and have health insurance in full-time jobs. (You want that for yourself, right?)

All of that already has to be paid for and in place before any emergency, so when disasters occur, the agencies are ready.

Without unrestricted donations not tied to any event, relief agencies cannot have any of these necessities–and can’t respond as effectively as necessary.

So, please be careful about dismissing money “not spend directly on victims”–it is vital to the work of an organization.

As far as pets go–even the sweetest animal can react badly in an unfamiliar, stressful environment. If a child is bitten by an animal in a shelter, or if a person develops a life-threatening allergic reaction to one, who takes the blame? The solution that is in progress now is to have separate areas for pets and their owners, but not all buildings can be set up that way.

Posted by oshma | Report as abusive

What i read from this is you think the Red Cross should spend more money on being noticed? That they need better PR? That isn’t in the remit of the RC – it was set up to be as anonympus as possible – and as you yourself have written in this column, many US charitable giving is done for reasons of self-interest, for being noticed, or to gain friends in high places. The Red Cross is not that kind of organisation. If it is noticed, it feels it has failed somewhere…

Posted by FifthDecade | Report as abusive

While I agree with much of the assessment of the functioning of the Red Cross, I can’t help but wonder whether the hampered transportation systems after the storm are partly to blame for the delay of the ARC’s arrival. That is, how easy or difficult was it to bring relief into the area, given the lack of power, closed airports, closed bridges and tunnels, etc.?

Also, I would like to clarify (as someone who was on the ground with the Red Cross this past week) that the level of experience of the volunteers ranges the gamut, from very experienced to completely inexperienced. It is simply not the case that all Red Cross volunteers are inexperienced.

While I absolutely agree that the size of the organization impedes its efficiency, I have to ask, what large bureaucracy is actually efficient? And if we are going to have a nationwide organization that is the size of the ARC, how reasonable is it to expect immediate response?

I don’t know, but I think it is worth asking the questions.

Posted by schwa | Report as abusive

I say they put Felix Salmon in charge of Fema or the Red Cross and lets see how well he handles the next disaster since he is the greatest leader in the world. As for not seeing the Red Cross, the poor guy must be blind also.
So if Felix is such a genius, why is he not the CEO of some huge corporation and making 30 million a year?
I have personally seen the Red Cross at disasters and they are usually the FIRST there and they DO help.

Posted by americanguy | Report as abusive

In Sweden, the Red Cross has problems for decades, and the fact that the problems are never corrected shows that the International Red Cross organization has little interest in getting its act together – very similar to the problems in the article.
The total administrative cost (including fundraising) is above 20% of money collected, far above what the organisation states publicly. They get away with this because they have one set of rules that are publicly promoted, and another set that they follow internally. The second set of rules allows them to charge office, IT, and advertising costs, among oter things, to their charity projects despite such charges being prohibited by the first set of rules.

Posted by Vasastan | Report as abusive

I volunteered for the Red Cross during Katrina. The Red Cross is a big organization and spends a lot of time and resources training its volunteers and raising money in case of a disaster. It is an emergency services organization that relies mostly on volunteers as first responders. It is painstakingly difficult to convince people to give money ‘in case’ of a disaster. It is equally difficult to train a full army of volunteers ‘in case’ of a disaster. People want to volunteer and contribute immediatly. This was quite apparent with the outpouring of volunteers during both Katrina and Sandy. In response to taking a week to have a presence in NY and NJ keep in mind the majority of people coming to provide services for the Red Cross are volunteers who are leaving their jobs, families and lives behind to help others. There is not a significant staff that runs into a disaster zone…they call all of the volunteers that have been trained to go first with the staff they have trained. I am not saying that they do everything perfect or that they couldn’t improve. I am saying that they are only as good as the volunteers and resources they have been capable of stockpiling ‘just in case’. The additional funds raised during a disaster are used to provide food, shelter, medical supplies and other supplies dictated by the type of disaster. They must also provide travel accommodations and food for staff and volunteers sent into the disaster area. This is no small or inexpensive production. If people are really committed to helping others they should be trained by the Red Cross and on a list of volunteers. They would be more than happy to have people on standby. Despite all the bad press from Katrina I spent from September – December watching volunteers and staff at the Red Cross use their resources in any way to help the victims of Katrina. The AmeriCorp workers and staff at our branch did not get paid much, but they showed up everyday and night with a smile on. The volunteers were on call night and day and didn’t complain. The success of the Red Cross is highly dependent on people showing up even when there is not an enormous disaster…a house fire, a sewer main breakage, a gas leak that leaves you homeless? If you have no place to go they will come to your aid and provide safe shelter and help you find a new place to live if you need it. The Red Cross is not perfect, but they exist because there is a need to have people prepared in times of disaster both big and small. The organizations on the ground are essential and there is no argument that the Red Cross could support them better and learn from their success. But please don’t stop giving to the Red Cross because you think they are not doing their job. They are…and they can do it better with your help…get trained and see for yourself all the good work they do.

Posted by VolFirst | Report as abusive

I think Mr. Salmon you should familiarize your self with “THE RED CROSS” see what they do and see why they do it. There may be some who are wrong headed but for the most part they do a great job. They have and do help more people each week than you could possibly conceive. The situation down there I am sure is worse than I can tell from here and you should be thanked for your part in helping. Lets encourage more and better from all those who donate time and money to help others. All the best to the people of NY.

Posted by dontdenytruth | Report as abusive

One of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, was a hard working fellow. But because he was also smart, he made sure that everyone SAW how hard working he was. He would haul carts of printing supplies up and down multiple streets as a form of personal “advertisement”. It served him well.

America feeds much of the dependent world, but much of our generous distributed bounty gets diverted to “strong man” organizations and even corrupt governments to be rebranded before distribution. As a result, many of the children American generosity has kept from starving grow up hating America and forever envious of us.

So, YES FifthDecade, Red Cross people and vehicles need to be highly visible. If they are in charge, they NEED to be visible so other volunteer organizations can establish communications so as to coordinate separate efforts to relieve suffering with such resources as become locally available. Everyone present should have an arm band easily visible by which those steal or divert resources or loot can be identified.

As in the military, it’s really always the same…do what you can, where you are, with what you have. But to be effective, there must be meaningful coordination of resources to avoid gluts in one area and no help at all in another. The Red Cross should be accountable to the extent of their resources and authority. It’s not supposed to be an “old boy’s club”.

The moment their management fails to reasonably perform “we, the people” need to instead send our dollars and manpower to such smaller, younger, more efficient, more flexible organization as can meet such urgent need(s) quickly and effectively. Too long on a truck and ice becomes impure water of no use.

Every major disaster is unique, but it seems the Red Cross is as ineffective and clueless every time. Who in “management” is learning from each disaster? What changes have been implemented to assure that mistakes made once are not repeated again and again?

There is but one advantage to anonymity, and that is to allow the incompetent to remain in charge year after year without proper oversight offering excuses for endless failures. If they are to be the world’s “first responder”, then let them show they deserve to be. If they can’t, send the dollars elsewhere to a more transparent and effective organization.

Given the history and resources of the Red Cross, the best one can say is that they are consistent and able to excel. Unfortunately, it is underachieving at which they are consistent and after-the-disaster excuses at which they excel.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Please!!!DO NOT DONATE MONEY TO THE RED CROSS. IT IS DISGUSTING THAT THE CEO MAKES A MILLION NOT INCLUDING BENE’S. I have lived thru this event along with family members and friends along the easy coast. I have yet to see one red cross volunteer. Don’t you remember after 9/11 they used the money to buy new desk etc. it is such a scam. I would rather give to someone personally even if it had nothing to do with hurrican sandy such as wounded warriors. Please keep your money in your pockets for this is not helping anyone but the employees at red cross. It should be investigated and shut down. Maybe if more people spoke up and the word got out fewer and fewer people would stop donating.

Posted by Nicole0407 | Report as abusive

I’m a 46-year-old homemaker and writer living in Ashland, Ohio leading an online campaign for more cots at the First Aid building at Wooster Ohio’s fairgrounds. The Wooster Ohio Red Cross has only two cots for 50 people during fair week. People who are prone to heat illness really need more cots. I’m angry with the Wooster Ohio Red Cross for denying me an open cot when I fell VERY ILL on 9-10-13. Despite repeatedly begging to lay down, I was denied two free cots when I most needed one. Cot mismanagement risks lives, and I could’ve died with 11 symptoms. I drive long distance to visit Wayne County’s fair, and I just need a fair break. I think my campaign could be a great story that puts a personal face on the issue of cot mismanagement.

https://www.change.org/petitions/wooster -ohio-red-cross

Why not the ethical treatment of PEOPLE during medical emergencies? https://www.change.org/petitions/wooster -ohio-red-cross

We need not be forced to go to the emergency room when we can easily be treated for free. Cot mismanagement puts lives at risk. My aim is to prevent what happened to me from ever again happening to me or anyone else.

Posted by IWasDoneWrong | Report as abusive

I’m a 46-year-old homemaker and writer living in Ashland, Ohio leading an online campaign for more cots at the First Aid building at Wooster Ohio’s fairgrounds. The Wooster Ohio Red Cross has only two cots for 50 people during fair week. People who are prone to heat illness really need more cots. I’m angry with the Wooster Ohio Red Cross for denying me an open cot when I fell VERY ILL on 9-10-13. Despite repeatedly begging to lay down, I was denied two free cots when I most needed one. Cot mismanagement risks lives, and I could’ve died with 11 symptoms. I drive long distance to visit Wayne County’s fair, and I just need a fair break. I think my campaign could be a great story that puts a personal face on the issue of cot mismanagement.

https://www.change.org/petitions/wooster -ohio-red-cross

Why not the ethical treatment of PEOPLE during medical emergencies? https://www.change.org/petitions/wooster -ohio-red-cross

We need not be forced to go to the emergency room when we can easily be treated for free. Cot mismanagement puts lives at risk. My aim is to prevent what happened to me from ever again happening to me or anyone else.

Posted by IWasDoneWrong | Report as abusive

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