Arrests in killings of New Orleans patients

At the height of coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s effects on New Orleans, the media mentioned a particular hospital in the city that was flooding and how some nurses and doctors took it upon themselves to kill patients who were too sick to move rather than leave them to the ravages of flooding (which was over-stated) or rioting mobs (which were also over-stated). Some of the stories even portrayed these health care providers as heroic and courageous for killing those they entrusted to care for. But after the storm, the story got dropped as questions began to be asked about whether these people would be prosecuted for murder.

Wonder no longer. Louisiana’s attorney general has had a doctor and two nurses arrested for killing four elderly patients.

Quoting other hospital staff members, a state affidavit portrayed the doctor, Anna M. Pou, as methodically ordering up a list of patients remaining at the flooded Memorial Medical Center, three days after the storm. Many had already been evacuated from the hospital, which was surrounded by five feet of water and was baking in 100-degree-plus heat. The sickest, however, were still there.

“A decision had been made to administer lethal doses,” Dr. Pou told a witness, according to the affidavit, released by the office of the attorney general, Charles C. Foti. Then, the authorities said, a witness saw Dr. Pou and the nurses filling syringes.

A 61-year-old patient identified only as E. E. was chosen. “She was going to tell patient E.E. that she was going to give him something to help with his dizziness,” the affidavit said. Dr. Pou entered E. E.’s room, it said, and closed the door.

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