Cover-up in New Orleans?


A crime, covered up in New Orleans? euthanasia.jpg I suppose it's no surprise in that city, notorious for official corruption.

CNN reports that five medical experts judged mysterious deaths in a New Orleans hospital to be homicide, but the grand jury convened to review the case never saw their reports.

In a decision that puzzled the five experts hired by the state, New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan never called them to testify before the grand jury. What remains unclear, because of grand jury secrecy laws, is whether the grand jury even saw the experts' written reports.

"They weren't interested in presenting those facts to the grand jury," said Dr. Cyril Wecht, the former coroner of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and a past president of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists.

"The hard scientific facts are those from five leading experts, [the patients died] from massive lethal doses of morphine and Versed. As far as I know the toxicological findings were not presented to the grand jury and certainly not with quantitative analysis."


I read about this around the time that Hurricane Katrina struck. Several of their family members said they had just talked to their loved ones in the hospital and that they were far from death physically. However, no one is really sure how the stress of the hurricane could have effected their health. Also, in that situation, the doctors may have known that they would die in a far worse situation then a lethal injection. Not that that would justify killing these nine patients, but it would shine light on the fact that these were not nine murderers, but nine doctors trying to save as many lives as possible.

Hi, Christine; would you check your information against the CNN report? That doesn't talk about nine doctors, just one doctor ordering lethal doses for nine patients whom she didn't see in person. It really does sound quite arrogant.

Are you trying to say that the hospital staff killed the nine with the intention of helping others?

High heat killed 15,000 elderly french in a virtual eyeblink, a hot month. Their families had no idea that grandmere was so fragile, but she was. Air conditioning has created populations of people that should have already died had it not been present. Katrina took out the AC in that hospital. People were going to die from that very fact alone, even absent all the government incompetence that led to poor evacuation. The doctor/nurse team that was under investigation for these deaths had a duty to minimize pain. The drugs used are imprecise and often lead to death unexpectedly when the difference between pain and respiratory arrest and death is slight.

I don't know what happened specifically and cannot tell for certain but the case is far from an open and shut instance of euthanasia and needs to be approached carefully. Prosecutorial discretion is there for a reason. Its use is not always a crime or coverup for a crime.

Please, TM, read the CNN story. You'll notice that nine patients died in a three-hour period; it is not plausible that accidental mild overdoses or heat stress could have caused such a cluster of deaths.

I did read the CNN story. I also have discussed this case extensively with my wife who is a practicing MD. What you do not seem to be taking into account is that our healthcare facilities all have a portion of their populations that are "dead men walking", that is to say without modern technology, periodically, even constantly applied, they die.

My understanding is that these were the sickest patients left, they were on the edge of life and modernity in New Orleans was gone and wasn't going to come back in time for them.

There are two questions here. Whether or not the administration of pain relief was of a nature that conformed with Catholic doctrine and whether the administration of these drugs was in conformance with the law. The first standard is much stricter. You are arguing that they must have violated the 2nd and that the prosecution was designed to fail and thus constitutes a coverup.

I would say that it certainly was possible once you triaged out all the relatively healthy, transportable patients that you're going to have a bunch of really sick people hanging on by a thread in a ward that's got no possibility of ordinary, modern care and most of your support infrastructure is gone, bailed out which precludes even decent primitive care. In that tragic, extreme scenario that the medical staff hadn't ever faced before in their medical careers, is it possible to make a systemic dosing mistake that shows up after you've already administered to all the patients on the floor? Are you so confident in your medical knowledge to preclude this? I'm not. I don't like to subscribe to "magical thinking" that of course the doctor knew what he was doing. Without a library at hand, time to research, and novel conditions, care becomes a shot in the dark.

Do you know how fast massive morphine overdose patients stop breathing? It happens in minutes, even seconds. 9 patients over 3 hours does not sound like naked intent to me for euthanasia. The deaths are actually spaced out too far for "massive" overdoses. Immediate respiratory arrest is the more likely result of a massive overdose.

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Richard Chonak

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