No help for the Living

In another cruel twist of logic, the US government is refusing foreign medical teams from assisting with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts for fear of lawsuits.

Thailand had planned to send 60 doctors and nurses to the US this week to help care for those injured in the disaster. But US authorities advised them not to come, fearing waves of a different sort: a possible rash of medical malpractice lawsuits.

"In the United States they are very sensitive about medical treatment because there are a lot of cases of patients suing the doctors," explained Thai Prime Minister Thaskin Shinawatra. "So they are going to use their own doctors and we will send a forensic team instead."

But the fact that Thailand is sending forensic specialists to an overseas location is raising eyebrows back home in the kingdom. The identification of victims from December's tsunami disaster is still nowhere near completion in Thailand. At the current pace, officials say that it could take another three to five years to identify the remaining bodies.

In addition to the forensic team, Thailand is sending 1,500 blankets, three tons of instant noodles, two tons of canned corn, two tons of canned tuna, three tons of canned pineapple, and 15 tons of rice to the hurricane-ravaged area.

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