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 Did Doctors Euthanize Critically Ill Patients In New Orleans Hospital?

FEMA's prevention of timely rescues provided the pretext for euthanasia
in this trial run of what is to come. 


http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_212599.shtml

Breaking News Thu. September 15, 2005

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Did Doctors Euthanize Critically Ill Patients In New Orleans Hospital?
by Mike Baron
Sep 13, 2005

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans reportedly euthanized critically ill patients rather than leave them to die in agony as they evacuated the hospital.

With reports of gangs, rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the unconceivable decision to administer massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed would not make it out alive, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A New Orleans doctor told how she "prayed for God to have mercy on her soul" after she abandoned every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of the patients entrusted to her care.

This heart-rending account has been reportedly corroborated by a hospital orderly and by local government officials, reports the Telegraph.

William Forest McQueen, an emergency official, said: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."

Euthanasia is illegal in the state of Louisiana and if the reports turn out to be true, the doctors would be guilty of murder

The families of the alleged victims reportedly believe the physicians' confessions are an indictment of the failure of US authorities to help those in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city, claiming thousands of lives and making 500,000 homeless.

"I didn't know if I was doing the right thing," One doctor reportedly said.

"But I did not have time. I had to make snap decisions, under the most appalling circumstances, and I did what I thought was right .... I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul."
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The doctor, who ended up fleeing the hospital late last week in fear of being murdered by the armed looters, denied her actions were that of murder.

In an interview with the UK's The Mail on Sunday, a female doctor-- whose name was protected by the media-- claimed that those who were killed were killed out of "compassion."

"This was not murder, this was compassion. They would have been dead within hours, if not days," she reportedly said.

"What we did was give comfort to the end. I had cancer patients who were in agony. In some cases the drugs may have speeded up the death process ... We divided the hospital's patients into three categories: Those who were traumatized but medically fit enough to survive, those who needed urgent care, and the dying.... I had to make life-or-death decisions in a split second... It came down to giving people the basic human right to die with dignity... You have to understand these people were going to die anyway."

In Other Developments

Rescue workers found 45 bodies downtown in a New Orleans hospital that was surrounded by floodwaters from Katrina, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said. The bodies were recovered Sunday from Memorial Medical Center, spokeswoman Melissa Walker said.

Tenet Healthcare Corp., the company that owns the hospital, said in a statement that "a significant number had passed before the hurricane."

He said, "Every living patient was evacuated by Friday afternoon."

It is unclear whether or not Memorial Medical Center is the hospital where the patients were euthanized.

Nursing Home Owners Charged With Negligence

The Louisiana District Attorney has charged owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home in St. Bernard Parish with abandoning patients.

The case represents the first major prosecution to come out of the disaster in New Orleans.

The owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home in the town of Chalmette "were asked if they wanted to move [the patients]. They did not. They were warned repeatedly that the storm was coming. In effect, their inaction resulted in the deaths of these patients," Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti said, according to the AP.

Salvador A. Mangano and his wife, Mable, surrendered and were jailed on 34 counts of negligent homicide. Each count carries up to five years in prison.

The Manganos had an evacuation plan as required under state law and a contract with an ambulance service to evacuate the patients, but they failed to call the company, Foti said. They also reportedly turned down an offer from St. Bernard Parish officials who asked if the nursing home wanted help evacuating, he added.

Bob Johannessen, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, called the actions by St. Rita's administrators "shocking" and the "worst example of negligence," according to ksbitv.com

"This shocks the conscience," he said. "This is the most egregious example of failure to do what is right at the right time. What were the decision processes that were made that would cause somebody to say, 'I'm not gonna take my patients.' "

-- Compiled from wire reports

 

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