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Misc. News : C.onsumer A.ffair Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00


Doctor, Nurses Arrested Over Katrina Deaths In Hospital
By Sara Andrews
Jul 18, 2006, 16:50

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18 July, (foodconsumer.org) - A doctor and two nurses allegedly killed four people by administering a lethal cocktail of drugs at a New Orleans hospital in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to Louisiana state attorney general. The three medics were arrested and later released on a $100,000 bond.

Attorney General Charles Foti said Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry will each face four counts of second-degree murder in the Sept. 1 deaths. In the dark days after Katrina struck, the New Orleans Memorial Medical Center was flooded with water as well as sick and dying patients.

It is alleged that the doctor and nurses injected the victims with lethal doses of morphine and midazolam (an anti-anxiety drug). "While I am aware of the horrendous conditions that existed after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and left so many stranded without food, water, electricity and the basic necessities, I believe that there is no excuse for intentionally killing another living human being," Charles Foti said in a statement.

“This is not euthanasia,” Mr. Foti said. “This is a homicide.”

The arrests bring back memories of the chaotic days after Katrina struck on August 29. Conditions inside the Memorial Hospital quickly deteriorated with temperatures inside the building exceeded 100 degrees and emergency generators failing to support air conditioning. Around 45 patients died at the Memorial.

Court documents reveal that test results on the bodies of the victims found morphine and midazolam hydrochloride. Mr Foti said the medics injected the drugs even though they were aware that it “guarantees they are going to die.”

Tenet Healthcare Corporation, which owns Memorial, announced that it was aware that the arrest warrants alleged the medics "may have administered pain medication that hastened the deaths of certain patients in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina".

"If proven true, these allegations are very disturbing. Euthanasia is repugnant to everything we believe as ethical healthcare providers, and it violates every precept of ethical behaviour and the law," the company said in a statement.

Rick Simmons, Dr Pou's attorney, said his client "is innocent of the charges and we intend to vigorously contest them." Speaking to the CNN, Mr Simmons criticized the manner in which Dr Pou was arrested. "I told them that she is not a flight risk. I told them that she would surrender herself. Instead, they chose to arrest her in her scrubs so that they could present her scalp to the media."

Mr Foti has spent a lot of time investigating the deaths caused after Hurricane Katrina. "We obviously think it's a very credible. ... We spent a lot of time, energy and manpower working on this case, ... so we think it's a good case," he said.

Privately doctors admit euthanasia or mercy killing was discussed among medics after a lot of sick people were brought into ill-equipped hospitals following the hurricane. In all, more than 970 people are known to have died in Louisiana in the aftermath of Katrina




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