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  • 15

    'Everybody May Not Make It Out'
    History; Posted on: 2007-08-26 12:09:04 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Dr. Anna Pou was accused of murdering nine patients in a New Orleans hospital wracked by Katrina, but a grand jury declined to indict her. Now she gives her side of the story.

    By Julie Scelfo

    The tragic deaths at New Orleans’s Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina are among the most notorious examples of the vast human suffering that resulted from the destruction of the levees and the flooding of the city—and the government’s incompetent response to the disaster. At least 34 people died in the hospital awaiting evacuation and it wasn’t long before dark rumors began circulating that some of them were helped along by lethal doses of morphine or other medication. Almost a year after the storm, in July 2006, authorities arrested Dr. Anna Pou, a well-known head and neck surgeon. She was eventually accused of murdering nine patients who were in a long-term acute care unit on the seventh floor run by LifeCare Hospital of New Orleans.

    Late last month, a Louisiana grand jury refused to indict Pou and the highly controversial criminal case came to a close. Pou still faces several civil lawsuits brought by relatives of patients who died while at LifeCare. In her most extensive comments yet on the events surrounding those deaths, Pou tells NEWSWEEK’s Julie Scelfo that she did indeed administer morphine and a sedative to the nine patients and she knew that these medication might hasten their deaths. But, she says, killing them was not her intention. In the desperate calculation Pou and other medical professionals were forced to make in the chaos and madness that engulfed the hospital, she says some patients could be saved and others were almost certain to die. It was their suffering Pou says she sought to alleviate. Excerpts:

    NEWSWEEK: What was it like after the levees broke?
    Dr. Anna Pou: Monday after the storm passed, we figured, ‘OK, minimal damage; we began organizing how we were going to evacuate the hospital.’ We didn’t have full power so we needed to move patients. Tuesday morning we were planning our day and one of the nurses called me to the window and said you’ve got to come see this. Water was gushing from the street. So we all kind of looked in disbelief. What is this? We could tell the city was flooding, you could see water down Claiborne Street. It was rising about a foot an hour. Then the whole mood at the hospital changed and what we were doing changed. We were in hurricane mode and we had to go into survival mode because we knew we had to be there for some time.

    Full article
    News Source: msnbc.msn.com


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