Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"We Had to Kill our Patients"

At least some physicians in New Orleans gave lethal doses of morphine to critically ill patients they could not save, as looters stormed the hospital seeking drugs and the last of the staff were evacuated, according to The Mail.

My colleague in contact with staff at the New Orleans VA Hospital reports that when the power went out, they were unable to evacuate all of their critically ill patients when the ventilators went out. They had to bag ventilate them all night by hand and lost nearly all of them. Truly a nightmare.


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Jeff Wilson said...

My god, I think that has to be among the most heart-wrenching things I've read in this whole affair, which is really saying something. A lifelong friend of the family, a physician, was on call at a downtown NO hospital and did not evacuate, leading to his being trapped for more than five days as the city deteriorated and the situation with patients became increasingly impossible. I wonder if he had to face some of these very decisions.

Euthanasia is illegal in NO, but I truly hope that no one who made sincere, reasoned choices in this insane situation ends up being prosecuted.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger J. James Mooney said...

Ethical concerns? Hippocratic Oath?


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