Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mercy Killings in New Orleans?

A doctor and two nurses were arrested Tuesday after the Louisiana attorney general accused them of using lethal injections to kill four elderly patients in a New Orleans hospital last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Many more patient deaths are under investigation.

At Memorial Medical Center, at least 34 patients died and this has been the subject of intense speculation.

Tissue tests revealed morphine and another powerful sedative, Versed, in a lethal combination.

If these "mercy killings" really took place it is a scary story.

It is also a story that is far from over and no one has been convicted of anything. It would certainly be suprising if medical personnel took it upon themselves to risk life in jail in order to solve a very difficult situation in hospitals during Hurrican Katrina using euthanasia.


shooter said...

just a quick note....then I gotta run.

I don't know any more than anyone else right now about this particular situation, but I do know that it gives me the heebee jeebies to have non-medical people getting involved in what obviously was a terrible, desparate time.

Having been around hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, I know they often have to make incredibly heart wrenching decisions. Sometimes they actually do have to play God, but who is better equipped? In the past we just left it to them to do "what's right" and accepted the results. Now with politicians, district attorneys, and holy rollers (see Terri Sciavo) getting their faces on TV, God help us all.

p.s. Just a quick example of what's maybe not "legal" but obviously "right." When an ambulance is called to a residence for an apparent heart attack, and the Eergency Medical Personnel find the victim is DOA, sometimes they put him on life support, pretend he's still alive, until he gets to the hospital, where he's pronounced dead. Evil? No, they do it out of respect and sympathy for the widow so that the reams of paperwork she would be forced to endure on his dying at home is precluded.

We'll just see what happens.

shooter said...

Beeta, I'm out the door. Catch ya tonite.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

This is a story we just don't know enough about. On the FACE of it, it appears the people involved had two choices, leave them to drown and die or send them on their way. The real culprit here is the government. Local, state and most importantly the feds. Slow doesn't even begin to describe the response to the disaster.

IF they did euthanize them feeling there was no other option, well it's a hard decision to make. This, once again on the face of it, seems like there was no winning strategy for the doctores and nurses. Leave them and let them die horrible deaths or do what could only be called mercy killings.

BUT I do not feel they are cold blooded murders who decided to kill for the fun of it. This is going to be a very interesting case to see unfold.

What else could they have done?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the circumstances as well as the decisions being the hardest on the doctors and nurses. I also agree that their intentions were not killing for fun.

However, whether they should be prosecuted or not is another story. Do I personally think they're guilty? Not neccessary untill I hear all the facts. But I do think these people should have their day in court so a jury can evaluate this with all the facts present.

If I were to serve on such jury for such case, it's very likely I'd vote for acquital, but still, I do think it is neccessary for the case to be presented in front of an open court.


Peter Rost said...

Should these charges be true, the scariest part is that doctors and medical personnel were put in a position in which they saw no other solution.

That is the true crime.

Doctors, during modern medical history, have been forced to make difficult choices, which is something I learned early on in my career.

Above all, a doctors job is not to prolong life into eternity but to save those who can be saved and assist the others to die peacefully.

Anonymous said...

There is an extended lesson, in my view, to the Katrina crisis. In the U.S. there are very different standards, state by state and even county by county. There is no infrastructure for emergencies. Not for small emergencies and certainly not for larger ones. In NC, where I live, it is important, if you are going to have an accident, for example, to live within an hours drive from a hospital, or ER. Problem is, doctors are getting out of this state, because of high Malpractice Awards/Insurance premiums. This, apparently, even affects certain departments at a prestigious university, like UNC. In rural areas there may not be a doctor at all, or a medical facility. And I doubt that there is enough helicopter transport available, although there are two military bases here. This is just dealing with everyday emergencies. In case of disaster situations as with Katrina, or a war situation, not unthinkable - it is reported today, that Hezbullah is already in the U.S. - there is just no way to handle anything. Doctors in this area are also going out of practice, because of ever lower Medicare reimbursements. That leaves a real vacuum, even for everyday situations. It really is necessary to have a national healthcare program now. It is necessary to treat patients in a timely fashion. It is important for homeland security. To even begin to address the situation we need to train more doctors, not fewer doctors. We need more Medical Schools, and VA hospitals, and they need to be dispersed over the landscape. We need more nurses and more EMT's. And we need better computer systems to transmit medical files, alert physicians in case of emergencies, better systems to decrease the administrative load on Medical personnel. We need fallout shelters which are stocked with necessities. Everyone should have self heating meals and bottled water on hand. And we all need to understand that doctors are human beings and doing their best; they do not know everything. To have more doctors we need to give them some slack.

And beeta, I like Bill Maher. He is an independent and logical thinker. I do not always agree with him, but he does have a very appreciated quality: common sense.

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back to this. I know I probably shouldn't but it makes perfect sense: Doc, I agree, the real crime is that the Doctors and nurses felt "compelled" to do these "mercy" killings, but it makes perfect sense when you look at who benefits from killing uninsured, old, poor (and probably black) people. If you look at it from a Master/Slave relationship, the LESS SLAVES (that's us) there are to feed and care for the MORE MONEY there is (for THEM). Getting rid of some of the old people who lived through the wars, didn't get aborted or didn't die of some disease is a bonus. Because what purpose would the hospital serve in keeping these people alive, except footing the bill so they keep the money to their selves instead.

Almost like Gorge Bush vetoing stem cell research. It makes no sense to US why he would do it. He has passed it off like some sort of religious thing, when we know damn well that man has no God. He is vetoing the bill because it could save lives, OUR LIVES!!! Rich, privileged people don't give a shit about the rest of us, they can afford to have their own research labs if they want to or they can receive treatment in another country that is already doing the research. What do they care if we die...But if we manage to live longer say because they find cures for cancer and AIDS, they wont be able have as much wealth, because now less of us are dying, more of us to feed, less wealth to go around. They treat stem cell research like its some sort of abomination that breaks some kind of "religious" moral code that we all have to adhere to... like sending us to war is a less immoral way of killing us, since we are complete human beings unlike those stem cells; Oh but only when it suits them.

Sorry for ranting but those old people in New Orleans are all of us and we are being slaughtered everyday in order for the very rich to maintain their steady flow of wealth.

Anonymous said...


I'm just going to insert a head shake here.

And maybe add that I'm a big fan of Doctor K. The same nephew mentioned earlier was a prison guard in MI, were the good doctor was vacationing. Couldn't get an autograph though. Being allowed to die with some dignity seems alright by me. Sure, it can be abused, but then we circle all the way back to "people are evil". If EVERYONE is evil, then what's the point?

Anonymous said...

Dr. K was a big threat to the Drug Companies.
And so are those doctors and medical personnel in New Orleans. An attitude like those people have could put a big dent in drug income.
You have to follow the money.
Ever look at the "War on Drugs!".
Ever see anyone other than Law Enforcement and the Drug Czar William (Bill) Bennett, who benefited from all the taxpayer money spent in that sinkhole?
Bennett was a high-stakes gambler who reportedly lost millions of dollars (taxpayer?) in Las Vegas. Bill Clinton got an Oval Office blow job.
Who would you rather have dating your daughter or having and affair with your wife?
During the "War on Drugs!" time period, the availability of street drugs increased 100x and the price jumped 10x. It was a very profitable war.
Alas! Jay Leno informs us that the days of the "Mom and Pop" meth labs are over. Now the "War on Drugs" must go commercial and upscale to match the upscaling of the meth labs.
At least the taxpayer dollars are having some effect by forcing the meth labs upscale. Another effect will be those poor sacrificial goat New Orleans doctors and medical personnel who will feel the full weight of the fury.
We got Dr. K! We can get anybody! Who is next?
Ken Lay and Elvis have left the building...