Monday, September 12, 2005

Doctors Killing Patients in NO?

Amanda links to an extraordinary story of a New Orleans doctor deliberately killing her patients:

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

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.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, 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."

I don't have any first-hand experience with evacuating patients, but this account just doesn't ring true to me.

For one thing, I can't imagine how one MD can get her hands on all those extra doses of morphine. I mean, in L&D, under normal conditions, the charge nurse practically strip searches you if the counts are off by one dose. In a hospital under a state of emergency, with the pharmacy in lockdown, extra morphine is available for the asking or taking? In any case, I find the corroborating sources--an orderly, and William 'Forest' McQueen, a utility manager--a bit iffy.

Not only that, but, even in the aftermath of a hurricane, unless you have totally snapped, you don't administer lethal doses of morphine to patients because [t]hey would have been dead within hours, if not days, anyway. Maybe the doctor was talking about pain meds for cancer patients, and slow codes on DNR patients, and the reporters somehow misunderstood.

Your thoughts on this story?


At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can perfectly understand those doctors. In those horrible circumstances it could sometimes be better to die than to suffer. Even when it is only for a few hours.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger mitsugomi said...

I am likewise skeptical of the article.

It smelled a little funny to me, too.

It may prove true...but it feels agenda-driven.

I'm waiting on confirmation from other, reliable sources.

At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if Mr. McQueen hadn't been so busy on the phone calling in phony stories, his wife would've been able to contact him. /rolleyes

She was probably giving that interview with the one reporter while he was selling his ridiculous story with another one sitting two cubicles down.

The things people will believe.

Sad. Just sad.

And no matter how logically you try and disprove this story, some people are going to believe it anyway because it fuels the fires of their hysteria.


America is getting dumber by the minute.


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