Adding Insult To Injury

A while back, I wrote about the awful circumstances at Memorial Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina. There was some talk about medical staff euthanizing patients, and I suggested that Louisiana turn the scrutiny from the staff to the state. Apparently nobody in LA law enforcement reads our blog. Warrants were issued for the arrests of Dr. Anna Pou, and nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry. The charges are:

Principal to Second Degree Murder, four counts, by intentionally killing four patients at Memorial Medical Center, New Orleans, LA, by administering or causing to be administered lethal doses of morphine sulphate (morphine) and midazolam (Versed), as defined in Louisiana Revised Statute 14:24 and 14:30.1.

I am not the only one outraged. These medical providers were working in war-like conditions. No electricity. No food. Shootouts in the street. Backed up sewage. No assistance. They stayed behind to care for the sickest patients, and this is how they are thanked? I think that every government agency that took tax money to fund inept agencies like FEMA should be named as co-defendants. Perhaps a jury would then come back with a not guilty verdict for the three people in this situation who actually did their jobs. And maybe then, the government can be held accountable.

16 Comments
  1. “These medical providers were working in war-like conditions. No electricity. No food. Shootouts in the street. Backed up sewage. No assistance.”

    “You’re doing a hell of a job, Brownie.” Makes ya proud to be Mercan (as Bushie says).

  2. I’ve read somewhere that the accused specifically picked their victims because they were concerned they would be too ill to move, and they would not be able to evacuate. By euthanising the four, they were able to say nobody alive was being left behind.

    I don’t know if this is true of not, but if it is, then I believe the charges have merit. I also believe the government, FEMA in particular, is culpable for the severity of the suffering in general (including deaths), followed by the incompetent local and state agencies.

    Not that I would expect them to do a great job, I would just hope they would get out of the way of those that will.

  3. “I also believe the government, FEMA in particular, is culpable for the severity of the suffering in general (including deaths), followed by the incompetent local and state agencies.”

    The understatement of the year. And you can bet that not one of them will ever spend a day in a jail cell or even have to spend money hiring an attorney to defend themselves. It makes no difference how criminally negligent or incompetent government officials are.

  4. From: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/10/12/katrina.hospital/

    “About 2,000 patients, families, physicians and staff were safely evacuated from the hospital by boat and helicopter during a continuous evacuation that began Wednesday morning, August 31, and was completed by Friday, September 2,” Campanini said.

    Katrina hit NOLA at 6:10am on August 29, 2005. Four days of no power and chaos for those docs, nurses, and patients. They are lucky that so many survived.

  5. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats who evicted a disabled New Orleans woman from her temporary housing due to her psychiatric problems won’t face any charges or even scrutiny in her death.

  6. The company (TENET) who owned the hospital should be held accountable for all the patients who died there. They did NOT send helicopters to evacuate their patients. Meanwhile, HCA hired and sent in helicopters to Tulane and evacuated the patients there as well as the patients at Charity Hospital. The hospital was like an OVEN. It was over 100 degrees. Do you think these poor patients would have survived that? I don’t think so. I think they did the humane thing. Heat, no water, no food, no medicine, no help in site. Hoods outside shooting up the neighborhood and trying to get into the hospitals for drugs. What would you have done?

  7. Jan — humane or not, the act of euthanasia itself is criminal in Louisiana.

    Call it a part of the net-benefit of being in a devoutly christian region. The argument is that utter and complete suffering without hope of easement is better than death.

  8. FTR, A Dr. King claims that somebody spoke of euthanasia. There is nothing that would prove that there was anything other than comfort as a motive. The drugs given are commonly given to ease discomfort.

  9. Oh, and something else that pisses me off over this matter. Some family of the deceased are suing. Where were they riding out the storm?? Likely in AC in a paid for room in TX.

  10. Hypothetical situation

    Suppose it was a war zone, say in Iraq, and the same conditions existed. Now suppose military doctors, nurses or medical staff euthanized Iraqi patients, most likely severely wounded/crippled prisoners, under the same circumstances.

    Now, would your positions toward the culpable performing euthanasia still be the same?

    ABSOLUTELY NOT. You would now deem it murder.

    You would be demanding an investigation, court martials and total humiliation of the participants including loss of all decency and long prison terms.

    Come on, people, let’s quit playing games and show some consistency in your positions. If it suits your situational ethics, then you support it. If you oppose certain actions, then you deem it criminal.

  11. Julian — you’re pretty much right, which is something I was driving at.

    However, I *do* find a somewhat different circumstance here in that one can only assume that at least some of the people euthanized were going to be untransportable, with the flood-waters coming in.

    Personally, if there is a choice for me between horrible, agonizingly suffering death that I cannot avoid, and simply “falling asleep” … then hell, give *ME* the needle, and I’ll pop it myself!

    The question that arises for me in this scenario is: Would these patients have survived were it not for euthanasia?

    If yes, then these acts were criminal.
    If no, then these acts were not. (In my perspective. Per the books it’s criminal either way, which only further illustrates the problems with “Good Christian Values.”)

    Since we don’t have this information, we cannot judge.

  12. Any healthcare worker that has ever worked in an ICU, Burn or Trauma unit knows that these charges have no merit!! For those that have not, it is impossible for you to understand. My hats off to all of those MDs, RNs and RTs that endured the worst possible conditions and saved hundreds of live in the process!

  13. thr medical staff did the most appropiate and intelligent
    action that could be taken under the circumstances.

  14. Jack — I can fundamentally agree with your sentiment.

    This is precisely the result of legislating morality.

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