Experience has demonstrated that U.S. hospitals cannot absorb the thousands of victims of a disastrous event. Following the attacks on 11 September 2001, New York's premier level I trauma center was overwhelmed. Bellevue Hospital lost track of patients, ran out of supplies, and struggled with doctor staffing. New York University Downtown Hospital lost electricity, steam, gas, phone, and computer services, and had dangerously reduced water pressure.
When the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire injured 200 and killed 100, Kent County Hospital received 40 patients in the first hour; 25 of them required ventilators. The hospital ran out of critical supplies and ventilators and struggled to support family members. Ultimately, 16 other New England hospitals received 196 burn victims, including a pediatric hospital that received 16 adults. The dismal response to Hurricane Katrina is on the record and need not be elaborated upon.