I find it ludicrous that, as reported in this article, two physicians and a nurse were charged with murder and face life sentences for their actions in the aftermath of Katrina:
Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo were accused of being principals to second-degree murder in the deaths of four patients at Memorial Medical Center three days after Katrina hit. The charge carries a mandatory life sentence, though the state will turn the case over to the New Orleans prosecutor, who will decide whether to ask a grand jury to bring charges.
Pou, Landry and Budo are accused of killing four patients, ages 61 to 90, with morphine and a powerful sedative called Versed.
Our government had seemingly abandoned the people of New Orleans in the week following Katrina. It seemed that way to those of us watching in horror from the safety of our homes in areas not ravaged by the hurricane. One can only imagine how it felt to those stranded in New Orleans, in sweltering heat, with no aid in sight and no means of communicating with people in the building next door, let alone with those outside of New Orleans.
And, the nurses and physicians who stayed behind were faced with the monumental task of caring for critically ill people without the bells and whistles of modern medicine--with their drug supplies being rapidly depleted. There was no electricity, no running water, no modern day conveniences. Nurses manually ventilated those who had been on ventilators. Snipers shot at the few rescue helicopters that made it through. Celebrities rowed into New Orleans on boats while the the almighty United States government, with all of its money, power and resources couldn't seem to get its act together in order to simply drop bottled water into the convention center.
Chaos reigned supreme in New Orleans. And, help was nowhere to be found. This was not business as usual on the ICU unit. It was hell on earth. It was the equivalent of conditions in a war zone. And, absent absolute depraved indifference to human life, medical judgments made under those conditions should not be second guessed. And, those making the decisions certainly should not be prosecuted for murder and facing a life sentence.
It's disgraceful--as disgraceful as our government's response, or lack thereof, to Katrina.