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Hospital And Nursing Home Autopsies Inconclusive, Coroner Says
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 1, 2005

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--"Katrina related."

That's the cause of death that Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard listed for dozens of people who died at a New Orleans nursing home and hospital during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Minyard said the bodies were so badly decomposed by the time autopsies were performed that they provided little evidence or clues as to how they died.

"If they did not have a knife sticking in them or a bullet in the body, it's hard pinpoint an exact cause," Minyard said Monday, adding that he is still waiting for toxicology results.

The autopsies were requested by Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti who is investigating how 34 residents of St. Rita's Nursing Home and more than 40 patients at New Orleans Memorial Hospital perished.

The owners of the nursing home were charged in September with negligent homicide after they reportedly failed to evacuate the residents from the facility even though they had ample warning and contracts with ambulance companies to do so.

Foti is investigating allegations that Memorial Hospital staff killed some patients who were not considered able to survive until rescued.

An attorney for the nursing home owners said the state could not prove anything without more evidence.

A spokesperson for Foti's office said the coroner's findings do not change the investigation.

"New Orleans coroner: Nursing home bodies too badly decomposed to yield evidence of crime" (Associated Press via KATC-TV)
Disability stories related to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita & Wilma are available on today's "Below the Fold" page:


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