By Anne Branigin
13 October 2017

(The Root) – Here are a couple of things your tax dollars have paid for in the past few weeks: Vice President Michael Pence’s NFL protest/publicity stunt, the Scotch tape keeping Donald Trump’s ties together, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling for Jemele Hill to get fired, and federal relief workers treating themselves to a “spa day”—from the very people they are supposed to be helping.

A veteran doctor has alleged that federal disaster relief workers in Puerto Rico brought in locals to treat them to manicures and pedicures. The incident was so egregious and “personally abhorrent” to the senior medical officer that she quit the disaster-response team in Puerto Rico.

The story was originally reported by Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show and picked up by Raw Story.

The doctor, who has served on humanitarian missions in 10 countries for over 20 years, says she has never seen a disaster relief operation being run the way it has been in Puerto Rico. Maddow never mentions the doctor’s name, but in a response to a query from the show, the Department of Health and Human Services—whose medical staffers reportedly organized the spa day—refers to the doctor as “Dr. Khanna.”

According to Khanna, members of the Disaster Medical Assistance Team “used the triage tents that are supposed to be for medical care and instead brought in local Puerto Rican residents to give the medical workers cut-rate manicures and pedicures.” The spa treatments were given while the relief workers were on the clock.

Screenshot from 'The Rachel Maddow Show' on MSNBC, showing doctors in Puerto Rico working on a patient after the passage of Hurricane Maria. The chyron reads, 'Doctor quits Puerto Rico response after alleged government mismanagement'. Photo: MSNBC

Khanna also shared photos with MSNBC that show the medical professionals wearing flip-flops in an environment that was supposed to be sterile.

After witnessing the “gross misuse of taxpayer funds and abuse of our privileged positions,” Khanna wrote a lengthy resignation letter to the National Disaster Medical System, according to Raw Story.

“I can no longer serve with honor,” Khanna told her superiors at the agency. [more]

Disaster Relief Workers in Puerto Rico Treat Themselves to Taxpayer-Funded ‘Spa Day' Given by ... Puerto Ricans

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