We have all been shaken by the devastation in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. After a couple of days to reflect, three thoughts come to my mind. First has been the absolute heroism of health care workers in New Orleans, and those helping from neighboring areas. The tales of nurses, doctors and other workers keeping patients alive by hand-pumping ventilators, and performing near-miracles in conditions that none of them could have believed they’d ever have to work in reminds us that medicine and health care is a calling far more than just a job. Second, the time for investigations and blame if any will come later, but it’s beyond belief that it’s taken this long to get either food, water and medicine into New Orleans, or those stranded people out. Finally, it can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that the vast majority of those "left behind" are poor and African-American. And that’s a microcosm of what’s going on in our society and in our health care system. Hopefully this disaster may give us a chance to reflect on that and to make some changes.