Post-Katrina Murder Charges Filed Against New Orleans Hospital
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 20, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--"This is a homicide; it is not euthanasia," Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. said at a news conference Tuesday as he announced that three Memorial Medical Center staff were accused of injecting lethal doses of drugs into four hospital patients in the days after Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Anna Maria Pou, and nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry, were arrested Monday night and charged with four counts of second-degree murder each before being released.
"We're talking about people that were maybe pretending they were God," Foti said. "They made that decision."
Within days of the storm, stories began circulating in British tabloids that some medical staff gave overdoses to several patients that were in critical condition in the hospital, which had dwindling medical supplies, and no power for air conditioning or equipment.
Soon after the hospital was evacuated, Foti ordered subpoenas for dozens of hospital staff to testify as to what they witnessed during and after the hurricane. But the investigation stalled as investigators said most tissue samples collected from dead patients had likely deteriorated to the point where the presence of drugs could not accurately detected.
Foti said new analysis of tissue samples led a forensic pathologist to conclude that the four patients died from a combination of morphine and a central nervous system depressant known commercially as Versed. The medications were not prescribed for any of the patients, he said.
The victims ranged in age from 61 to 90, Foti said, adding that the youngest patient reportedly was "aware, conscious and alert" at the time he was lethally injected.
"Doctor, two nurses accused of murder" (Times-Picayune)
"Louisiana Doctor Said to Have Faced Chaos" (New York Times)
"La. Kin Suspicious About Hospital Deaths" (Associated Press)
"People With Disabilities Among Hardest Hit By Hurricanes Katrina & Rita" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)