Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Par for the course

Via His Highness:

In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me.

"I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave." [Link]

[. . .]

The clock is ticking, a (the only) qualified doctor on the scene is rendering aid in an emergency situation, and you order him to stop because you're afraid of a lawsuit? I give a shit if the guy was an auto mechanic. He's saving lives in an emergency situation. The Bush administration in a nutshell: Lives mean nothing when they come in conflict with the political agenda. Time to start prepping some cells in The Hague.