Eshonte Sandifer 1 sleeps soundly on her mother's cot at a Red Cross shelter in the Donal Snyder Sr. Community Center in Biloxi Mississippi.

Published: September 03 2008 11:56
Washington: Power outages caused by Hurricane Gustav have forced Louisiana state officials to transport scores of patients from hospitals and other medical facilities for fear they couldn't survive long without air conditioning.

The state's secretary of Health and Hospitals Alan Levine said these patients were critically ill and a few were from hospital burn units. As of Tuesday evening none of the patients had died during the recent evacuation. Officials said early on Tuesday evening that about 140 had been transferred and the number grew during the evening.

"Our goal throughout this has been to minimize the loss of life and to protect our folks" he said.

More than 1.4 million power outages have been reported in the South since Hurricane Gustav passed through on Monday.

The state estimated Tuesday that almost 700 patients in a dozen Louisiana hospitals may have to be evacuated over the next three days because the facilities do not have air conditioning.

Meanwhile President Bush said on Tuesday he was grateful that Hurricane Gustav was nowhere near as destructive as Hurricane Katrina. He used Gustav's glancing blow on US energy infrastructure off the Gulf Coast to prod Congress to OK more domestic oil production.

"We are thankful that the damage in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast was less than many had feared" Bush said in remarks prepared for delivery on Tuesday via satellite to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul Minn.