Sunday, September 18, 2005

FEMA: fearing lawsuits, they chose to let people die instead

While Red Cross and other urgently needed medical assistance were kept outside of New Orleans, FEMA was preventing credentialed physicians not registered with the organization from assisting with treatment of patients. First came the story that, while patients awaited much needed medical attention, FEMA handed unregistered physicians mops because they feared the legal liability of a malpractice suit (exacerbating illness and withholding treatment is malpractice; treatment by a credentialed physician in disaster type circumstances such as these would be covered under good Samaritan laws). Now there's another, even more disturbing, story. Orthopedic surgeon Mark Perlmutter was ordered to stop attempts to resuscitate an unresponsive patient. Perlmutter had tried to obtain FEMA credentials prior to his arrival in Louisiana but gave up when, after 12 hours of trying, he was unable to get through to the agency.

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