Thursday, October 13

Staff at New Orleans hospital debated euthanizing patients

Alarming news, and yet says so much about the moral and cultural health of that city.
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.

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."

Over the course of several weeks, CNN spoke with staff members from Memorial, who recounted the dismal situation inside the hospital after levees protecting New Orleans were breached on Monday, August 29, and most of the city filled up with water. By Wednesday, the situation had become desperate.

"We weren't really functioning as a hospital but as a shelter," King said. "We had no electricity. There was no water. It was hot. People are dying. We thought it was as bad as it could get. Why weren't we being evacuated? That was our biggest thing. We should be gone right now."

Food was running low, sanitation wasn't working, and temperatures inside soared to 110 degrees. Floodwaters had isolated the hospital, where about 312 patients -- many of them critically ill -- were being treated when Katrina hit.
Hat tip to ProLifeBlogs.