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View Full Version : 'I could have saved her life but was denied permission'



Laisrean
September 19th, 2005, 06:35 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/18/wkat318.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/09/18/ixhome.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/18/wkat318.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/09/18/ixhome.html)


Refugees from New Orleans died after private doctors were ordered to stop giving treatment because they were not covered by United States government medical liability insurance, according to two American surgeons.

AmericanMe
September 19th, 2005, 08:07 AM
Anyone feeling the need for tort reform yet?

PaganLibrarian
September 19th, 2005, 03:08 PM
All they had to do was find a state health official, who were likely all over the place, and give them a copy of their license and ID, and they would have been covered under Louisiana.

Zhr Morgana
September 19th, 2005, 04:36 PM
That is just horrendous.

SS'sBaby
September 19th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Jesus Christ that just borders on obscene. :ahhhh:

Ben Gruagach
September 19th, 2005, 04:59 PM
I think it's important to note that the doctors were told by FEMA to stop. Let's be very clear here who took the responsibility to decide to order the doctors to stop helping in a disaster zone.

Meadhbh
September 19th, 2005, 05:05 PM
And that when I would have been fired. I'm afraid I would have had to do something for those people. I would hate to be the person who gave that order when those people's family found out it was me that told the doctors not to treat their loved ones.

Alaiyo
September 19th, 2005, 05:07 PM
All very sad and very tough.

Jenne
September 19th, 2005, 05:17 PM
Sigh. Yup yup yup. More and more of this bullshize is coming out. Sad sick times they were--with little or no direction towards anything helpful for the most part from ANY gov't official at that time in LA.

From what I heard about FEMA this a.m. on KPBS, the organization didn't start even becoming somewhat helpful until a few years ago. It used to be a "dumping ground" for aids from previous administrations with no other place to find a job. Only since Andrew more recent tragic emergent events has FEMA been in any shape to do any good.

Looks like a major disaster relief overhaul is in critical order...we'll see if it gets done.

AmericanMe
September 19th, 2005, 06:24 PM
FEMA does need fixing. Question is was this doctor denied practice by policy that was decided from the top or was it decided on-the-spot by some idiot middle-manager?

Ben Gruagach
September 19th, 2005, 06:31 PM
From what I heard about FEMA this a.m. on KPBS, the organization didn't start even becoming somewhat helpful until a few years ago. It used to be a "dumping ground" for aids from previous administrations with no other place to find a job. Only since Andrew more recent tragic emergent events has FEMA been in any shape to do any good.

There's some interesting information about how FEMA has gone downhill fast in the past few years in this PDF report (http://linkfilter.net/cgi-bin/lf.fpl?cmd=go;id=94419) that was sent by The Association of State Foodplain Mangers to House Speaker Dennis Hastert in January, 2005.

It sounds like a lot of the problems snowballed when FEMA was made part of Homeland Security and then basically gutted, and the red tape bureaucracy went way up to get anything done.

Jenne
September 19th, 2005, 07:51 PM
They're saying that's the tip of the iceberg as to FEMA's incompetence (the whole Homeland Security merger thing). That it was never really taken seriously until we started having natural disasters and state emergencies that *expected* FEMA to actually respond to these crises.

Amazing that a whole organizational arm of the federal gov't could be so decapitated for so long and still get so much $ to get absolutely friggin' NOTHING done!

Well, ok, NOT that amazing.

PaganLibrarian
September 19th, 2005, 08:18 PM
And, in any case, all the docs had to do was find a Louisiana public health official, give them a copy of their ID and license, and they could go to work.

Willow Rosette
September 19th, 2005, 09:43 PM
That is heart breaking. Id be furious if that was my family member.

Greybird
September 19th, 2005, 10:00 PM
If it were me, I think I'd have to decide my oath trumped federal liability concerns.

BeachWitch
September 19th, 2005, 10:19 PM
I read this topic this morning, and I was so furious that I just had to step back. It's absolutely despicable.

The official who made the decision needs to be held accountable. The decision s/he made is akin to manslaughter, and appropriate charges need to be filed.

Jenne
September 19th, 2005, 10:27 PM
And, in any case, all the docs had to do was find a Louisiana public health official, give them a copy of their ID and license, and they could go to work.

They DID wave their licenses at the officials--it did no good. FEMA still kicked their arses out til the red tape had run its course.

PaganLibrarian
September 19th, 2005, 11:46 PM
No, they waved their licenses at the feds. Once again, they were working at the wrong level. They should have been waving their licenses at the state officials, not at the feds. The Governor of Louisiana specifically passed an executive order on Sep 02 to allow doctors from out of state to practice medicine in Louisiana during the emergency. If they had taken a couple of minutes to do a little research, the doctors would know this, and would have cleared with the state people before the feds ever got to them.

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 10:46 AM
So with this lovely precedent, if a doctor or other medical practitioner is to come across a situation where first aid could save a life, they must do nothing until they can find the appropriate government official to "wave their credentials at" in order to be allowed to save a life?

That is SERIOUSLY messed up.

mucgwyrt
September 20th, 2005, 11:03 AM
oh...my...goodness. That's appauling.

PaganLibrarian
September 20th, 2005, 11:21 AM
So with this lovely precedent, if a doctor or other medical practitioner is to come across a situation where first aid could save a life, they must do nothing until they can find the appropriate government official to "wave their credentials at" in order to be allowed to save a life?

I would say that it is more a case of "Before you go rushing into the unknown, no matter how good your intentions, do a little research to find out what is required." I found the requirements on the internet in less than 5 minutes. Is the FEMA official an idiot for turning away docs? Yes. However, the docs are partially to blame for not checking out the situation before going in.

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 12:27 PM
I would say that it is more a case of "Before you go rushing into the unknown, no matter how good your intentions, do a little research to find out what is required." I found the requirements on the internet in less than 5 minutes. Is the FEMA official an idiot for turning away docs? Yes. However, the docs are partially to blame for not checking out the situation before going in.

I'm sure that advice will soothe the souls of the families and friends of people who died when medical help was standing right there but couldn't help because of bureaucratic red tape.

PaganLibrarian
September 20th, 2005, 02:04 PM
And the families should put the blame where it belongs, partly on FEMA, partly on people smart enough to become doctors, but not smart enough to take 3 minutes to use the internet before jumping.

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 03:40 PM
And the families should put the blame where it belongs, partly on FEMA, partly on people smart enough to become doctors, but not smart enough to take 3 minutes to use the internet before jumping.

In a disaster zone, we're to rely on the internet being available? From what I've heard they had problems with cell phones working during the Katrina disaster.

PaganLibrarian
September 20th, 2005, 04:43 PM
Read the article again. The doctors were from Pennsylvania. Katrina didn't knock out the internet in Pennsylvania. It would be as easy for them to find out the information from Pennsylvania as it was for me to find out the info from Arizona.

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 05:46 PM
Read the article again. The doctors were from Pennsylvania. Katrina didn't knock out the internet in Pennsylvania. It would be as easy for them to find out the information from Pennsylvania as it was for me to find out the info from Arizona.

There were lots of people from all over the place who rushed to try and help at the disaster scene. You haven't convinced me that bureaucratic red tape should trump actually helping people in a disaster situation. And in this case, it WAS a life or death situation.

I'm sure the families of those who died are comforted by the fact that the red tape and bureaucracy has been kept intact.

PaganLibrarian
September 20th, 2005, 05:49 PM
I never said that red tape trumps trying to help. Go back and read my post again before you attribute things to me that I never said. What I did say was that a procedure was in place to handle the problem they encountered. If they had bothered to look, they could have found that out quickly and easily before they ever encountered the problem.

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 05:55 PM
This reminds me of another recent Katrina story (http://www.suntimes.com/output/greeley/cst-edt-greel16.html) about a couple of Navy pilots who were reprimanded for helping save lives instead of sticking to their strict supply-delivery orders. Just like in the case of the doctors who were told to stop saving lives, the heart of the Navy story is one of people who feel that bureaucracy is more important than saving lives in a time of catastrophe.

PaganLibrarian
September 20th, 2005, 05:56 PM
No, the Navy story is about military discipline, and learning to follow it, instead of doing what you feel you should.

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 05:59 PM
I never said that red tape trumps trying to help. Go back and read my post again before you attribute things to me that I never said. What I did say was that a procedure was in place to handle the problem they encountered. If they had bothered to look, they could have found that out quickly and easily before they ever encountered the problem.

If getting proper authority was such an easy and quick thing to get (like you say, "three minutes on the internet") then why would the FEMA authorities not take those three minutes to authorize doctors who were right there, right then, exactly where they were needed most?

Lives were at stake!

Ben Gruagach
September 20th, 2005, 06:00 PM
No, the Navy story is about military discipline, and learning to follow it, instead of doing what you feel you should.

Interesting priorities there. Lives at stake V maintaining military discipline.

PaganLibrarian
September 20th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Have you been in the military? Military discipline saves lives in combat. Military discipline is practiced at all times. If not, then you end up doing things that get people killed. The man who commanded the pilots praised their actions, but reprimanded them for not following orders. That is as it should be.

Jenne
September 21st, 2005, 01:08 AM
No, they waved their licenses at the feds. Once again, they were working at the wrong level. They should have been waving their licenses at the state officials, not at the feds. The Governor of Louisiana specifically passed an executive order on Sep 02 to allow doctors from out of state to practice medicine in Louisiana during the emergency. If they had taken a couple of minutes to do a little research, the doctors would know this, and would have cleared with the state people before the feds ever got to them.

Yeah, let's take a little time to do some research while thousands are dying, shall we?

LOL

Yeah, like it was the DOCTORS' faults. Ye gods. It was the fault of red friggin tape! You want something fouled up, give it to the gov't to do!

Sorry Charlie, I don't fault the docs on this one--they're not gov't workers--they're aid relief HEROES. The effer who was throwing them out should've found a way to get them to do their work legally. Not throw them out on their ears. THAT is doing his job. Not getting in the way of free medical care for the needy.

Feh.

PaganLibrarian
September 21st, 2005, 12:05 PM
Yeah, let's take a little time to do some research while thousands are dying, shall we?

Yeah, three minutes worth of research would have hurt...as opposed to not doing any research and getting booted for your trouble. If you go back and read my posts, I said that the FEMA person was wrong to kick them out. But the doctors were partially to blame for not taking three whole minutes to find out what they needed to do.

Greybird
September 21st, 2005, 01:21 PM
The common sense answer is neither - the common sense answer is the responsible party saying, "Once you get those guys stabilized, you'll have to show your credentials to Bob over there."

PaganLibrarian
September 21st, 2005, 02:48 PM
How often does common sense rule in dealing with any government. Everyone knows this. Therefore, no matter how screwed up the situation was, a small part of the responsibility falls on the doctors for not taking a few minutes to get their ducks in a row before jumping in, however noble their intentions were.