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Old 07-18-2006, 05:00 PM   #1
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Doctor And Two Nurses Charged With 2nd Degree Murder During Katrina

I remember reading about this case online at the time, the TV and print press (other than CNN) didn't give it much coverage. I wonder if it was more than four patients, the age of these four patients stands out. They are testing tissue samples.

An affidavit said tests determined that a lethal amount of morphine was administered on September 1 to four patients ages 62, 66, 89 and 90. Hurricane Katrina swamped the city on August 28.

According to the court document, the morphine was paired with midazolam hydrochloride, known by its brand name Versed. Both drugs are central nervous system depressants. Taken together, Foti said, they become "a lethal cocktail that guarantees that you die."

The doctor and nurses were taken into custody late Monday, following a 10-month investigation that continues. Each was charged with four counts of being a principal to second-degree murder and released on $100,000 bond.

Sources have told CNN the conditions at the hospital were dire, and the killings allegedly were carried out to speed evacuation. Foti would not discuss possible motives on Tuesday.

"We feel that they abused their rights as medical practitioners," was all he would say..

In October, CNN reported exclusively that after deteriorating conditions -- with food running low and no electricity -- some medical staff openly discussed whether patients should be euthanized.

Dr. Bryant King, a contract physician with Memorial who was working before and after the hurricane, said another doctor came to him and recounted a conversation the doctor claimed she had with a hospital administrator.

According to King, the doctor said that the administrator suggested patients be put "out of their misery."

King said when he objected this physician acknowledged his concerns, but he said that "this other (third) doctor said she'd be willing to do it." King told CNN that he later that day saw one doctor holding a handful of syringes. He left, King said, because he believed the doctors would follow through with their suggestion of euthanasia. However, King never saw any wrongdoing occur.

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Old 07-18-2006, 05:07 PM   #2
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"In an accompanying affidavit, an agent for the Louisiana Justice Department wrote that Pou told a nurse executive three days after the hurricane hit that “lethal doses” would be administered to those patients who could not be evacuated.

Pou said the patients remaining at the hospital would likely not survive and that a “decision had been made to administer lethal doses” to them, the affidavit says.

“’Lethal doses of what?”’ the nurse executive asked, according to the affidvit says. It says Pou answered: “morphine and ativan.”

In a December interview, Dr. Pou had told Baton Rouge television station WBRZ: “There were some patients there who were critically ill who, regardless of the storm, had the orders of do not resuscitate. In other words, if they died, to allow them to die naturally, and to not use heroic methods to resuscitate them.”

“We all did everything in our power to give the best treatment that we could to the patients in the hospital to make them comfortable,” Pou said then.

Tammie Holley, an attorney representing about a dozen families whose relatives died at Memorial, says the presence of the sedative in addition to morphine is important in determining whether hospital staff intended to kill a patient. Midazolam is used to induce unconsciousness before surgery, according to a medical Web site.

“If it was only morphine, there would be no way to know if they were administering it to control their pain,” Holley said.

Harry Anderson, a spokesman for Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., said the allegations against the doctor and nurses, if proven true, were disturbing.

“Euthanasia is repugnant to everything we believe as ethical health care providers, and it violates every precept of ethical behavior and the law. It is never permissible under any circumstances,” Anderson said."
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