Thursday, February 23, 2006

NPR Breaking News of Euthanized Fetuses (i.e. DNR patients) in New Orleans

Suspicions had been reported last year. Hospital administrators saw a doctor filling syringes with painkillers and heard plans to give longterm care patients lethal doses.

Now, from National Public Radio's All Things Considered, February 16, 2006 ยท New Orleans Hospital Staff Discussed Mercy Killings A physician has been named and the Atty. General is actively investigating. (H/T Drudge)

Soon after Hurricane Katrina struck, the first unconfirmed reports surfaced of "mercy killings" -- euthanasia of patients -- at New Orleans hospitals. For months, the Louisiana attorney general has been investigating these charges. That investigation has centered on the actions of doctors and nurses at the city's Memorial Medical Center.

This demonstrates the reason constitutional law requires states to develop disaster planning:

+Were local sentiments, culture and mores reflected in this decision to euthanize Do Not Resuscitate patients after Katrina struck?

+ Had that been the plan all along?

+ Who authorized the plan to administer fatal doses to patients?

At least one relative has retained a lawyer to investigate. We remember how other senators criticized Sen. Frist (also a physician) for breaking ranks with practicing MDs in the Terri Schiavo case. Doctors supported removal of her feeding tube. She died. Her husband is writing the book as Molten Eagle predicted (before others) he would once she died.

There is no question that the decision of courts to uphold Mr. Svhiavo's request to end his wife's suffering would have emboldened doctors to euthanize patients for convenience. Poor planning?

Doctors have been expected to practice triage. Now, we may be seeing an unusual twist to emergency triage: when critically ill patients might not survive arduous evacuation (battlefield semblance noted), treat them like death penalty cases (whoops, it is illegal to execute unhealthy death row prisoners) -no treat them like unwanted fetuses.

May God have mercy.


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