CNN: Doctor, nurses face Katrina murder charges (Updated)

The hunt for killer Docs during Katrina moves forward:

CNN: Doctor, nurses face Katrina murder charges

From Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — A doctor and two nurses have been charged with second-degree murder — the result of the Louisiana attorney general’s investigation into whether hospital staff euthanized some patients in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Anna Pou, Lori L. Budo and Cheri Landry were arrested late Monday and charged with four counts of second-degree murder.

The charges stem from the deaths of some patients at New Orleans Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina hit. Sources told CNN the slayings were not mercy killlings [sic], but instead allegedly were carried out to speed evacuation of the hospital. …

No-one can condone ‘medical euthanasia’ in extreme situations like this. Fatigue and desperation don’t make for necessarily good judgement. I don’t know what happened, or more likely didn’t happen, there. Time will tell.

But, this article gives me some real pause:

Foti has been investigating for months whether hospital and medical staff euthanized some patients. He is expected to outline what he thinks happened to some of the 45 Memorial Hospital patients who were found dead after the August hurricane evacuations.

“We obviously think it’s a very credible … we spent a lot of time, energy and manpower working on this case … so we think it’s a good case,” Foti told CNN in February.

I trust this is just poor phraseology, and doesn’t mean ‘time spent = good case’.

In October, CNN reported exclusively that after deteriorating conditions — with food running low and no electricity — some medical staff openly discussed whether patients should be euthanized. …

Hmm, CNN also reported roving rape-gangs in the Superdome, dead piling-up etc. I don’t know if I’d be really proud of October Exclusive Reporting from New Orleans.

And here’s the part that really has me wondering:

Editor’s Note: CNN, which broke the hospital deaths story, was nominated Tuesday for an Emmy in Outstanding Investigative Journalism: “Death at Memorial Hospital.”

So, if this case goes no-where, and is found to be groundless, will their Emmy nomination be forfeit? The real problem is that now CNN’s got a reason to keep this story going, real or imagined.

Update: after the above was posted, the article was changed, and it doesn’t make the LA AG look any smarter, to wit:

‘Lethal cocktail’

According to the court document, the morphine was paired with midazolam hydrochloride, known by its brand name Versed. Both drugs are central nervous system depressants. Taken together, Foti said, they become “a lethal cocktail that guarantees that you die.”

Uuh, no, they’re not an instant death cocktail when mixed. Alarming people about two medications that are routinely used together in medicine for conscious sedation in order to pump up your case is wrong, and stupid. I have used morphine and versed together several times and nobody died! The devil is in the dose, and the respiratory monitoring and support provided during the procedure.

…”a lethal cocktail that guarantees that you die…” is just idiotic hyperbole.


  1. Yeesh…if morphine + versed = certain death, then a lot more neonates ought to be dead these days… Where do they get off saying that?!

    If you can win an emmy for a journal story, then I’d raise my eyes to how credible it is, also. And they say that some medical staff discussed openly whether or not some patients should be euthanized. What was the context? People chatter away all the time about things that, if taken completely out of context by a money hungry lawyer, could easily be misconstrued. Does this mean every time we have a discussion about the ethics of a futile case, we should be taken to court because we were intending to carry out whatever it was we were talking about? Hmmm….

  2. Not to mention the roughly 25,000 (off the top of my head) or so Colonoscopies that take place each day that use MS/Versed or Dem/Versed. I wonder if anyone at CNN even has a clue about medicine.

  3. To be fair, CNN is just reporting the idiocy. I’ve been plenty hard on CNN in the past, but that particular phrase was uttered for effect and for the press by the LA Attorney General.

  4. Much of this is the expected search for scapegoats. We can’t go after the mayor of NO, the governor of La., the director of FEMA, so let’s go after these individual people, who obviously turned an unpleasant event in NO into a tragedy.

  5. The NO DA is making the case for a venue change with this kind of wrongful and misinformed claptrap.

  6. peaceful and calm…far from dead. versed and morphine, a cocktail indeed, but a guarranty that you die because of it? hhhhmmm…it is totally hyperbolic, i agree.

  7. I wonder if part of the aim is to intentionally poison the NOLA jury pool, forcing a change of venue to a place without the deep scarring memory of the times immediately following Katrina?

  8. NoAcuteDistress says:

    Same idiocy showed up recently in a malpractice trial in California over the death of a Down’s Syndrome patient with sleep apnea, following an outpatient tonsillectomy. The plaintiff’s attorney tried to make hay out of the “overdosing” with morphine in the recovery room. That fool lost the case for his client by barking up the Hysterics Tree.

  9. I nearly fainted when I saw that comment about Morphine and Versed.

    First of all, if I was true, I wouldn’t be here as I have had both for procedures.

    Second, it’s what we use every single day for conscious sedation –
    hopefully nobody took this guy seriously.

    At least no one has asked about it in our ER.