Red tape now, relief later

What's that Michael Chertoff said in response to questions about awarding no-bid contracts to GOP cronies? "We're going to cut through red tape, but we're not going to cut through laws and rules that govern ethics."

Oh, okay, then this must be an instance of a rule that governs ethics then:

Dr Perlmutter arrived with Clark Gerhart, a surgeon colleague, and Alison Torrens, from Co Antrim, a medical student at Aberdeen University (at overstretched disaster relief hospital at New Orleans airport). All three had volunteered their services free of charge.
The surgeons said that the medical staff there had welcomed their arrival and needed trained doctors. "They were just swamped," said Dr Gerhart. The surgeons, however, were told they could not work there without Fema credentials, which could not be issued even though they had their medical licenses with them.
"[Capt French's] words were, 'We don't have any way to do credentialing and no way to ensure tort liability coverage'. How any one could utter those words in the middle of a catastrophe I do not know."
Dr Perlmutter said that he begged to be allowed to work until he could be relieved by a Fema doctor but was told that this was not possible.
Kim Pease, a Fema spokesman, said: "The volunteer doctor [Dr Perlmutter] was not a credentialed Fema physician and, thus, was subject to law enforcement rules in a disaster area." [LINK thanks to David Addams]
Perlmutter estimates that 20-30 people died at the hospital on that day -- the day that the surgeons lost because they had to fly back to Baton Rouge to get the right credentials.

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