HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

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.

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

September 12, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Admin Law and Health Law

Dear colleagues who teach administrative law: I am writing this letter to inform you of an opportunity to prepare a scholarly paper that can be presented at the 2006 NAALJ Conference in Fall of 2006 in Seattle, Washington, and can then be published as an article in the Journal of the NAALJ. The 2006 Fellowship topic is "What Can the Administrative Judiciary Do to Relieve Congestion in the Judicial Branch." The details are set forth in the 2006 Fellowship announcement, which is included with this letter. The 2004 Fellowship award winner, Dean Harold J. Krent, from Chicago Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, presented his paper at the 2004 NAALJ conference in Baltimore, Maryland. An article based on his paper was published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Journal of the NAALJ. I am more than willing to answer questions about the Fellowship. You can contact me through e-mail at:, or by telephone at (310) 506-4671. You can find out more about the NAALJ from their web site, , and about the Journal of the NAALJ, at . Very Truly Yours, Gregory L. Ogden Professor of Law Faculty Editor, Journal of the NAALJ 2006 FELLOWSHIP The National Administrative Law Judge Foundation, the public interest arm of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges, is requesting applications for the 2006 Fellowship. The Fellowship was endowed to encourage research and scholarship for improving administrative justice. The 2006 Fellowship Topic is "What Can the Administrative Judiciary Do to Relieve Congestion in the Judicial Branch." The Fellowship will offer the successful candidate the opportunity to analyze a major topic of interest to the administrative law judiciary. For more information, including further information about the topic for the 2006 Fellowship, please visit The Fellow will prepare an original article for publication in the Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges, and will deliver a fifty-minute oral presentation at the 2006 annual meeting in Seattle, Washington during Fall 2006. In addition to the $1,000 cash stipend, the Fellow will receive air transportation, accommodations, and meals at the annual meeting and educational program in Seattle, Washington. The final draft of the paper will be due by January 1, 2007. Applicants for the 2006 Fellowship should submit two copies of a detailed outline for the proposed article, an abstract or an introduction to the paper, along with a writing sample, curriculum vitae, and a list of publications by April 1, 2006. Email submissions are highly encouraged. The Fellowship Committee will review the submissions and select a Fellow by May 30, 2006. Applications and inquiries should be addressed to the Chair of the Fellowship Committee: Edwin L. Felter, Jr. Senior Administrative Law Judge Colorado Office of Administrative Courts 633 17th Street, Suite 1300 Denver, Colorado 80202 Tel: (303) 866-5676 Fax: (303) 866-5909 Email:

September 12, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Judge Roberts Hearings

If you are interested in the hearings starting today on the appointment of Judge Roberts to be Chief Justice, National Public Radio will be running "gavel to gavel" coverage of the hearings if you want to listen in for a bit. 

Also, Linda Greenhouse had a piece in the New York Times recently that discussed some of the big issues that face the Court and Judge Roberts position on some of those issues.  She provides a useful issue-by-issue guide.  [bm]

September 12, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Thomas to be Upgraded

One of the very best web sites is about to get better.  The Library of Congress has announced that Thomas is getting a new look and some new features.  You can get the details over at Joe Hodnicki's Law Librarian Blog. [tm]

September 11, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More on Human Research

While on the topic of human-subject research, I should mention what an outstanding text is the book that LexisNexis has lately been hawking in the right-hand column of this page: The Ethics and Regulation of Human Subject Research by Carl Coleman, Jerry Menikoff, Jesse Goldner & Nancy Dubler.  Although written as a casebook, it is an invaluable reference work as well.  My human-research book shelf has about 25 titles, if I could only keep 1, this would be it.  Add the reading edited by Emanuel et al. in Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research: Readings and Commentary and you have just about all the library you need (and I say that as a loyal reader of Robert Levine's classic but dated text (my candidate for #3 on the shelf)). [tm]

September 11, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Research Ethics: Not for Comparativists Only

We have received word (from LawProfBlog guru Joe Hodnicki) of a new title of interest to those who toil in the field of human research.  It's Research Ethics Committees, Data Protection and Medical Research in European Countries, by D. Beyleveld, D. Townend and J. Wright.  Here's the publisher's blurb:

The Data Protection and Medical Research in Europe: PRIVIREAL series represents the results of this EC-funded project examining the implementation of Directive 95/46/EC on data protection [official text] in relation to medical research and the role of ethics committees in European countries. The series consists of five separate volumes following the complete development of the PRIVIREAL project.

This volume relates to the second stage of this project and is concerned with the setting up and role of research ethics committees. It assesses their legal responsibilities, especially with regard to data protection matters and contains reports from more than 20 European countries on these issues.

Focusing on the theoretical role and practical operation of research ethics committees and the impact of relevant international and national instruments, this volume will be an essential resource for all those concerned with data protection issues in medical research.


September 11, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Article by Professor William Sage


Professor William Sage of Columbia Law School, has written a new article entitled, "Reputation, Malpractice Liability, and Medical Error" Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Working Paper 0587.  The topic is quite timel with the recent debates occurring over the best manner in which to control health care costs.


Health care providers have strong feelings about medical malpractice litigation, feelings that often seem at odds with measurable characteristics of the malpractice system. These (mis)perceptions influence the delivery of health care, and are therefore socially important notwithstanding their subjectivity. This speculative essay traces such paradoxes of malpractice policy to the concept of reputation, examining both historical trends and potential future developments such as enterprise liability.

For the full article:

September 11, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)