Thursday, December 22

Euthanasia in the Big Easy, pt. 4

CNN's lead story this morning concerns one of the few Hurricane Katrina myths that refuses to die (as it were), that story that hospital patients in flooded New Orleans were triaged and euthanized, which I previously wrote about here, here, and here.

As previously reported, the Tenet Healthcare-managed Memorial Medical Center is the focus of concern, because of a cluster of 45 bodies removed from that facility back on September 11, 2005.

The CNN story this morning features an exclusive interview with a named contract physician at the hospital, and mentions by name another physician as being seen with "a handful of syringes". CNN's source, Dr. Bryant King, also claims to have talked to another physician at the time who recounted a conversation with a hospital administrator who suggested that some patients be "put out of their misery."

The physician mentioned by name as being seen holding the "handful of syringes" is Dr. Anne Pou, a faculty member at Louisiana State University's School of Medicine (fourth from top). CNN reports that Dr. Pou has retained an attorney, and personally declines comment on the allegations, though her attorney issued this statement:

"The physicians and staff responsible for the care of patients, many of whom were gravely ill, faced loss of generator power, the absence of routine medical equipment to sustain life, lack of water and sanitation facilities, extreme heat in excess of one hundred degrees, all occurring in an environment of deteriorating security, apparent social unrest and the absence of governmental authority. Dr. Pou and other medical personnel at Memorial Hospital worked tirelessly for five days to save and evacuate patients, none of whom were abandoned. We feel confident that the facts will reveal heroic efforts by the physicians and the staff in a desperate situation."

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