HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Disturbing News From New Orleans

The Daily Telegraph reports that some Louisiana doctors euthanized patients before leaving New Orleans during hurricane Katrina.  It states,

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

One New Orleans doctor told how she "prayed for God to have mercy on her soul" after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save.

Her heart-rending account has been corroborated by a hospital orderly and by local government officials.

One emergency official, William Forest McQueen, said: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."

Euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana and the doctors spoke only on condition on anonymity.

Their families believe their confessions are an indictment of the appalling failure of US authorities to help those in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city, claiming thousands of lives and making 500,000 homeless.

What a terrible situation and what horrific decisions medical professionals felt forced to make . . .  Thanks to Americablog for this link.
[bm]

Update:  Apparently this story is a terrible hoax.  I apologize for not researching more thoroughly before posting.  [bm]

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