Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Katrina Euthanasia Reports Being Investigated

From CNN

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Three days after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, staff members at the city's Memorial Medical Center had repeated discussions about euthanizing patients they thought might not survive the ordeal, according to a doctor and nurse manager who were in the hospital at the time.

The Louisiana attorney general's office is investigating allegations that mercy killings occurred and has requested that autopsies be performed on all 45 bodies taken from the hospital after the storm.

Orleans Parish coroner Frank Minyard said investigators have told him they think euthanasia may have been committed.

"They thought someone was going around injecting people with some sort of lethal medication," Minyard said. (Watch the report on possible euthanasia in New Orleans)

Dr. Bryant King, who was working at Memorial when conditions were at their worst, told CNN that while he did not witness any acts of euthanasia, "most people know something happened that shouldn't have happened."

If the report of Dr King is to be believed, it looks like this story is valid:

But King said he is convinced the discussion of euthanasia was more than talk. He said another doctor came to him at 9 a.m. Thursday and recounted a conversation with a hospital administrator and a third doctor who suggested patients be put out of their misery.

King said that the second physician -- who opposed mercy killing -- told him that "this other [third] doctor said she'd be willing to do it."

About three hours later, King said, the second-floor triage area where he was working was cleared of everyone except patients, a second hospital administrator and two doctors, including the physician who had first raised the question of mercy killing.

King said the administrator asked those who remained if they wanted to join in prayer -- something he said had not occurred at the hospital since Katrina ripped through the city.

One of the physicians then produced a handful of syringes, King said.

"I don't know what's in the syringes. ... The only thing I heard the physician say was, 'I'm going to give you something to make you feel better,' " King said.

"I don't know what the physician was going to give them, but we hadn't been given medications like that, to make people feel better, or any sort of palliative care," he said. "We hadn't been doing that up to this point."

King said he decided he would have no part of what he believed was about to happen. He grabbed his bag to leave. He said one of the doctors hugged him.

King said he doesn't know what happened next. He boarded a boat and left the hospital.

The question for me remains: Why weren't the critical patients evacuated? It's not like they didn' tknow the levees could break. And don't hospitals have generators for these kind of contingencies? This whole story screams mismanagement and neglect. And their conclusion was that the best thing they could do for the patients was to kill them?

Another point. I don't know what the ethnic background of those who were likely euthanized. But studies show that the concept of euthanasia is much less appealing to African-Americans and Latinos as it is to Caucasians. This could cause a major backlash against the right-to-die movement in those communities.

Our mentality has degenerated to the point that we see other humans as we would animals. There is compassion, but when push comes to shove, we take the easy way out and put them down.
papijoe 7:19 AM