What’s a Few Pennies Here and There?

OK – I’ve been reading articles lately about the 4 doctors and nurses in New Orleans being charged with murder for euthenizing 3 patients after Hurriance Katrina struck. I’m alway reluctant to get to political because I don’t trust the media to be 100% accurate and there’s always a chance information is missing. But based on what I’ve read so far, I’m getting annoyed and need to throw in my two cents worth.

Let’s look at the conditions: A catastrophic hurricane hits and floods the area surrounding the hospital. For four days, there is no electricity, no clean running water, no air-conditioning, temperatures inside consistently hovering over 100 degrees, extreme humidity, looters and crime outside the front doors, no signs of help/rescue, and three critical older people ranging in age from lower 60’s to 90’s.

The doctor/nurses injected three of those older patients in horrible medical condition with a mix of morphine and some other drug that put them out of their misery. Now they’re being charged with murder.


In fact, Louisiana’s Attorney General, Charles C. Foti, is quoted as saying “We’re talking about people that pretended that maybe they were God.”

I have to be honest, if I was there, even as the 100% healthy 35 year-old that I am, I’d have been begging for that drug cocktail. These folks were terminally ill and surrounded by deplorable conditions with no signs of imminent rescue. I think what the doctors and nurses did for those three suffering people should be considered compassion – not murder. If my 90 year old parents (or grandparents) were one of the patients, I’d be thanking the doctors/nurses for not making them suffer any more than they had to. 

Think about it. Yesterday we were all miserable because it was humid and in the 90’s in Boston. Imagine it hotter, more humid, and without any circulating air, electricity or running water. That would be what it was like at the hospital….for four straight days. Now imagine having a terminal illness while you’re at it.

I just can’t imagine.



  1. Comment by Lise on July 19, 2006 10:38 am

    I definitely agree that they shouldn’t be charged with murder. While I can’t necessarily, without all the info, completely condone what they did, they clearly didn’t do it for any other reason than feeling it was the only thing they could do. Who knows how any of us would have reacted or what decisions we would have made unless we actually went throught it. And the prosecuters, et. al., should remember back the mood of the time, the lack of help and info, the sense that they were abandonded and had no idea how long before any resuce might come.

  2. Comment by Sean on July 19, 2006 1:32 pm

    My two cents-

    Isn’t the fact that four days went by without any help from the local/state/federal government (I mean, we’re talking about a HOSPITAL here) sort of a criminal act, too? If you’re going to charge these medical personnel with murder, they sure as heck shouldn’t be the only ones standing in front of the grand jury. The message this sends out to health care workers is- the next time disaster strikes, just leave the sick and frail to fend for themselves. Better to lose your license to practice than to face a possible prison sentence.

  3. Comment by J.P. on July 19, 2006 1:39 pm

    I agree with you 100%. It’s a shame that these terminally ill people were subjected to these conditions to begin with.

  4. Comment by Chris on July 19, 2006 3:58 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! (not necessarily sexual )

    I couldn’t agree more; if it were me or if it were a loved one, I’d be hollaring for the needle. While I agree with Sean re: the other problems with the whole thing, I think in terms of “criminalizing” a humanitarian act is criminal itself.

    (And I *loved* your photo request.)

  5. Comment by karyn on July 19, 2006 4:49 pm

    Well let me toe the line here… I haven’t paid much attention to the story as I find it so unsettling but you’ve thrust it in my face here (ha, if you had a nickel for every time you’ve hea- ah… never mind), I shall contribute.

    You might be grateful that someone put your loved ones out of their misery if they were terminally ill and suffering with no chance of hope or help or survival. True.

    You might also have liked the chance to say goodbye or make that call as next-of-kin and not have had these professionals make the decision for you. As might your loved ones! Maybe they asked for mercy, maybe they gave the green light to operation kill-me-now.

    Why they couldn’t have doped them up nicely on grotesque quantities of morphine and skipped the euthanasia part, I do not know. If they were indeed in critical condition as you suggest AND terminally ill anyway, hello, morphine just makes them comfortable. Why bother to take the extra step and finish it off when nature would have done it for you without opening you up to these charges which I’m sorry, you HAD to consider in the first place?

    We’ll never know.

    And while it is frightening to think of the message this sends to healthcare professionals (when in doubt, do nothing), I’m sorry, how fucking dumb do you have to be to think this isn’t going to catch up with your Kavorkianesque ass and bite it hard?

    How can they be surprised? Anything is cause for a lawsuit in these litigious times. Go ahead and do indeed use your heart as well as your head but for crissakes, DO REMEMBER TO USE YOUR FUCKING HEAD.

    I’m sorry. It just seems like a bad decision. Well intended perhaps, but we know what they say about that.

  6. Comment by Dave in Chicago (2) on July 20, 2006 2:13 am

    Can I just say that I want to marry Karyn? In a non-sexual way, of course… ;-p

  7. Comment by karyn on July 20, 2006 8:13 am

    Thank you Dave… I needed that! I have been tremoring all night thinking that Karl and his devotees would be forming a lynch mob to sic on my ass any moment now!

    Thank you thank you! I accept! Hahaha!

  8. Comment by snarl on July 20, 2006 9:47 am

    Oh, Karyn – I could never be cross with you! Like I said at the beginning of my post, I’m not sure all of the circumstances because I’m just reading about it in the (biased) media. You have a valid point…could they simply have medicated them to the point of not feeling anything until survival? I don’t know.

    My hunch is that that was their first option. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? But then I start to wonder: were they afraid of running out of the morphine since they had other patients (younger/healthier) to care for? Was there enough staff to care for all of these people (since many may have abandoned ship)?

    But very valid points you made.

    As for Dave’s marriage proposal…I don’t know what to say. I have met him…and he’s rather cute and has a fabulous Chicago condo. Damn polygamy laws.

  9. Comment by veselka slut on July 21, 2006 12:33 pm

    Well, Karyn, if their chicken-shit relatives wanted to say goodbye they could have if they hadn’t hightailed their own asses up to Baton Rouge and leaved their precious loved ones to die.

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