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Doc: I 'got rid of' patient after Katrina
Associated Press ^ | August 29, 2009 | MARY FOSTER

Posted on 08/28/2009 2:57:32 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana's top prosecutor said Friday he will not reopen a probe into allegations of euthanasia at a hospital crippled by Hurricane Katrina, despite new statements from a doctor that he drugged a terminal patient to "get rid of her faster."

Dr. Ewing Cook said that as staff at Memorial Medical Center desperately tried to care for and evacuate patients, making spot assessments of which ones might survive, he scribbled "pronounced dead at" on the patient's chart, intending to fill in time and other details later.

"I gave her medicine so I could get rid of her faster, get the nurses off the floor," Cook told ProPublica, an independent nonprofit investigative organization, in a report to be published Sunday in The New York Times Magazine.

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: bioethics; euthanasia; ewingcook; katrina; probe

1 posted on 08/28/2009 2:57:32 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY
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To: Free ThinkerNY

Premature Obamacare.

Give that man one of the vacant jobs in Obama’s health administration!


2 posted on 08/28/2009 2:58:56 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Free ThinkerNY

From the Governor to the Mayor, they are the ones who ought to be prosecuted.


3 posted on 08/28/2009 3:02:28 PM PDT by Carley (WHEN YOU HONOR THE DISHONORABLE YOU SHOW YOUR OWN TRUE COLORS)
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To: Free ThinkerNY

Now we know where Obamacare gets its inspiration.

Never let a good crisis go to waste. Right Barry?


4 posted on 08/28/2009 3:02:32 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Free ThinkerNY

How coldblooded evil...


5 posted on 08/28/2009 3:03:13 PM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: Cicero

He should be Ozero’s health czar. He out-Mengeles the compassionate Dr Rahm.


6 posted on 08/28/2009 3:04:13 PM PDT by Merlinator (Teddy in Arlington?... WTF were all the Massachusetts landfills full?)
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To: Free ThinkerNY

Is Dr. Winkwink a Rat?


7 posted on 08/28/2009 3:04:22 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Barack Obama is a political suicide bomber and the Rats are political arsonists.)
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To: Free ThinkerNY
Sigh. "Get rid of"--did that mean offing the patient, or making it possible for the patient to be evacuated?

There are a lot of doctors across the nation watching how the Katrina doctors are being treated. Overheard in a lounge, "Hell if I stick around this place when the Bird Flu or the Swine Flu overwhelm the hospital, if this is how I can expect to be treated."

They notice that no one comes after the docs who simply left.

8 posted on 08/28/2009 3:07:13 PM PDT by Mamzelle (Who is Kenneth Gladney?)
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To: Free ThinkerNY

“a doctor that he drugged a terminal patient to “get rid of her faster.”

Why isn’t he Obama’s Surgeon General?


9 posted on 08/28/2009 3:14:16 PM PDT by Spok
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To: Free ThinkerNY

In a last ditch, last resort situation with people one can not save and who will die a long slow horrible death with no hope of help — we are not in a position to judge that doctor or anyone in similar dire situations.


10 posted on 08/28/2009 3:15:02 PM PDT by Aroostook25
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To: Mamzelle

Well, if there were a surge of “morphine cures” to Bird or Swine Flu, dern tootin this would draw some askance looks.


11 posted on 08/28/2009 3:18:02 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Barack Obama is a political suicide bomber and the Rats are political arsonists.)
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To: Aroostook25

How does one avoid the slippery slope into euthanasia?


12 posted on 08/28/2009 3:18:58 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Barack Obama is a political suicide bomber and the Rats are political arsonists.)
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To: Free ThinkerNY
Obviously, some of the posters did not get past the headline.

The patient in question was terminally ill with uterine cancer and kidney failure. Dr. Cook ordered an increase in the morphine drip and wrote "pronounced dead at" on the patient's records, which strongly suggests that she was very close to death. Quoting Cook from the article:

..."It's always given with the intent of providing ease. The nagging side effect is that it shortens life, but you're talking about people who are terminally ill already. They are not going to get better."

The prior Louisiana AG, Charles Foti, had presented evidence to a grand jury but they declined to indict. Here's what the current New Orleans DA is quoted as saying,

"If new evidence comes forward we would consider it," Cannizzaro (New Orleans DA) said. "But the crux of the matter is intent. To prove murder we must be able to prove intent."

Euthanasia is an execrable practice, but this case doesn't appear to fit the definition.
13 posted on 08/28/2009 3:38:15 PM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: Aroostook25
we are not in a position to judge that doctor or anyone in similar dire situations.

But we will.

What happened in that hospital was a perfect example of everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong and things that couldn't possibly go wrong still went wrong. And very quickly.

But, hey, I watched Katrina from my TV half the country away and I've never worked in a hospital so I'll just sit here and post about how evil this doctor was and make pithy comments about Obama's health care plans.

14 posted on 08/28/2009 3:42:36 PM PDT by Drew68
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To: Free ThinkerNY

It’s obviously bothering this doctor and he’s unable to get beyond it.

I’d say he is probably a more compassionate and dedicated doctor now because this incident lays heavy on his mind.

I think he needs help to forgive himself and for the community to let him know that sometimes you just do what you have to do . . . given the situation, wouldn’t having her die with drugs be better than her dying outside the hospital while being moved to another location? She didn’t have hope of getting better and he had to make one of those “doctor life and death decisions” without having many alternatives.

I think he chose the rightly. And I would say that if the patient were a close relative. I definitely would not blame him.


15 posted on 08/28/2009 4:00:50 PM PDT by HighlyOpinionated (At Thermopylae, 1 Million Persians lost 20 Thousand yet failed to disarm 300 Spartans. Molon Labe!)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Aroostook25

In a last ditch, last resort situation with people one can not save and who will die a long slow horrible death with no hope of help — we are not in a position to judge that doctor or anyone in similar dire situations.

Amen. there is triage in mortal situations


17 posted on 08/28/2009 5:24:16 PM PDT by Chickensoup (minestra di pollo)
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To: Mamzelle

I agree, anyone sitting around second guessing what the people on the ground were doing in this situation are just fools.

Civilization is gone, help ain’t coming, limited resources, and you are resonsible for hundreds if not more patients with dwindling supplies and anarchy all around you.

Nope, not going to play arm chair quarterback.

The people who should be in jail over Katrina all hold or held government positions, not the doctors and nurses in the hospitals on the ground.


18 posted on 08/28/2009 5:31:10 PM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: normanpubbie

“Euthanasia is an execrable practice, but this case doesn’t appear to fit the definition.”

What euphemism are you using for this happening?


19 posted on 08/28/2009 6:36:38 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: Drew68

“I gave her medicine so I could get rid of her faster, get the nurses off the floor”

Utilitarianism is a dark doctrine.


20 posted on 08/28/2009 6:40:33 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: Cicero

Maybe he can become the pill czar.


21 posted on 08/28/2009 6:42:30 PM PDT by mware (F-R-E-E, that spells free. Free Republic.com baby.)
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To: HamiltonJay

“The people who should be in jail over Katrina all hold or held government positions”

How silly. For one, there were looters.


22 posted on 08/28/2009 6:44:34 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: Aroostook25
"Get rid" could mean so many things. It does not mean murder. BION, doctors like "getting rid" of some patients.

This whole thing about Katrina and the docs and nurses who stayed and struggled just enrages me. That woman doctor who was stuck in a 100-degree facility with no electricity! No light! No water! Yet she kept on. About the only tool she had was to sedate the patients until help came. Do you realize that they couldn't even open the windows, unless they could break them?

And now she's got all these wrongful death lawsuits.

Physicians--at the first sign of disaster--CUT AND RUN.

23 posted on 08/28/2009 7:47:59 PM PDT by Mamzelle (Who is Kenneth Gladney?)
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To: normanpubbie
re: Euthanasia is an execrable practice, but this case doesn't appear to fit the definitio)))

Thank you. Sedation may hasten death, but attention must be paid to intent. All of you out there may well want pain meds someday. I read this as the doctor being in battlefield conditions, without battlefield training. He knows a patient is about to demise, starts the chartwork and goes on to another patient. Not many here care that there might be residual spiritual trauma to the physician.

Who, after all, is a doctor and not a lawyer.

24 posted on 08/28/2009 7:55:07 PM PDT by Mamzelle (Who is Kenneth Gladney?)
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To: Mamzelle; HamiltonJay; HighlyOpinionated; Drew68; normanpubbie; HiTech RedNeck
The following posts by Mamzelle, HamiltonJay and HighlyOpinionated sum it up quite well.

I read this as the doctor being in battlefield conditions, without battlefield training. He knows a patient is about to demise, starts the chartwork and goes on to another patient. Not many here care that there might be residual spiritual trauma to the physician.

She didn’t have hope of getting better and he had to make one of those “doctor life and death decisions” without having many alternatives/

I agree, anyone sitting around second guessing what the people on the ground were doing in this situation are just fools. Civilization is gone, help ain’t coming, limited resources, and you are resonsible for hundreds if not more patients with dwindling supplies and anarchy all around you. Nope, not going to play arm chair quarterback. The people who should be in jail over Katrina all hold or held government positions, not the doctors and nurses in the hospitals on the ground.

This same situation will happen again in a major urban earthquake, or another major hurricane or a month-long snowfall and blizzard which cuts off all help, all flights in or out, all ground transportation. Any medical personnel (and I was a medic) will be faced with similarly dire decisions. Triage will be required.

25 posted on 08/28/2009 8:21:09 PM PDT by Aroostook25
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To: Norman Bates; Mamzelle; HiTech RedNeck
Euthanasia, killing someone or helping a person to kill himself or herself, is purely and simply murder. Intent is an integral part of euthanasia. According to the sitting NOLA DA and the law professor quoted in the article, intent is absent here.

The reason I mentioned euthanasia is that posts numbered 5,6,7, and 9 implied that the doctor performed euthanasia.

Mamzelle, the question you posed in post #8 occurred to me, too. What did the doctor mean by "getting rid" of the patient? Dr. Cook's explanation for his actions is quoted further down in the article and I cited it in my post #13 because it is relevant to the story.

HiTech, in post #12, you posed a fair question and here is my answer. I don't see a slippery slope; I see instead a bright line. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, AKA "Doctor Death," served 8 1/2 years of a 25-year sentence for second-degree murder. Kevorkian intended to kill people. Do you see the difference?
26 posted on 08/28/2009 9:16:05 PM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: Norman Bates

“The people who should be in jail over Katrina all hold or held government positions”

“How silly. For one, there were looters.”

Are you kidding me?

All the money earmarked to upgrade the levies that was siphoned off to fund other things over the years.

The failure of local and state governments to make the evacuation order when they should have.

The abject failure of the local and state governments to follow and execute their own emergency evacuation plans.

The failure of the state and local governments to ASK for federal help, when it was obvious that they could not handle the situation.

The failures of execution by the Federal government when they were finally engaged.

Yep, people were dying in the brackish water of NO, but the person swiping a few dozen beer bottles and wading through the sewage were the problem.

Unbelievable.. there would have been none of what you saw go down in NO had the people in the responsible government positions at the time DONE THE JOBS THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO.

This doctor would not have been placed in the position he was in had the powers that be actually done their jobs effectively.

Obviously this was a huge natural disaster, and nothing could have prevented everything, but the overwhelming culpability for what happened in NO falls squarely on the folks who were in government positions, and more than a few still are, failing completely and utterly to do their jobs.

The storm didn’t take out NO, it was the failure to deal with it afterwards that created the mess. Had things been mobilized properly before the storm hit, and had things mobilized properly after it was gone, most of what you saw in NO would have never occurred.

Trying to morally equate the guy with a few beer bottles in brine water, the utter failure of politicians and bureaucrats to do their duties and then play blame game to cover their own butts is pathetic.


27 posted on 08/29/2009 7:58:58 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: normanpubbie
"Getting rid" could mean something as simple as making the patient be quiet! or to find another personnel to take care of a patient. Or "GOMER"--Get Out of My Emergency Room. Most of the time a doc will conceal his annoyance, or his own distress. There's even some humor you would not find funny. Thanks to the legal profession, the relationship between docs and patients is distrustful and often antagonistic. If a doctor seems evasive, he doesn't trust you.

Do you hear some people say, "the doc only gave me a month to live, and hear I am! What a quack!" This is very likely a fiction, and the doctor probably gave him a range of expectations based on literature and experience, and gets to be called a quack for his efforts.

Pain meds hasten death. They also get terminally ill patients out of pain.

And sedation can deal with a patient, particularly under adverse circumstances, so you can move on to the next patient.

28 posted on 08/29/2009 9:03:31 AM PDT by Mamzelle (Who is Kenneth Gladney?)
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To: Mamzelle; Cicero; Tennessee Nana; Merlinator; Spok; Norman Bates
I agree with everything you said in post #28. I'm forwarding your post to some of the posters on this thread who need to see it too.

BTW, Jack Kevorkian was released from prison in March 2006 claiming to be terminally ill with hepatitis C and expected to live only 6 more months. Here it is, 3 1/2 years later, and he is still around. According to the Wikipedia entry, in February 2009 he lectured at some college:

...There were mixed reactions when Dr. Kevorkian unveiled an American Flag with a swastika where the field of stars normally resides (the Union). He claimed the flag was intended to shock and remind everyone that this is where America is headed if changes are not made.

Talk about execrable! Kevorkian, it was the Nazis who euthanasized 6 million people last century in the Holocaust.
29 posted on 08/29/2009 9:36:58 AM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: Free ThinkerNY
Okay, with all due respect, when you turn up a patient’s morphine drip and start notes to pronounce her dead, where, other than Orleans Parish, is that not prima facie evidence of intent to end her life? On what planet? It’s not first-degree murder, perhaps, but it’s also something other than a simple “oops”.
30 posted on 08/29/2009 9:50:20 AM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: RichInOC
There's an old saying that any prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.

But in this case, the grand jury that heard only the prosecutor's evidence did not return an indictment. The jury obviously didn't think there was prima facie evidence.
31 posted on 08/29/2009 10:09:57 AM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: normanpubbie; Mamzelle

Well, I read the story over again, and I can see how there can be differences of opinion about it. The doctor seems to me to have made a very questionable decision. He admits that he “hastened her death.” But it is arguable on the evidence given.

Yes, it was an emergency, but I don’t think that necessarily excuses ending a life. The four nurses he mentions could probably have carried her down. And it’s perfectly possible to bring the intravenous drip along—I’ve been in that position myself.

Then if she died, she died, and it couldn’t be helped. But no one deliberately hastened her death.

I don’t know all the factors involved, so maybe no wrong was done.

As for the Grand Jury decision, the article says they were dealing with a couple of other cases. Whatever this doctor did was not known at the time, so he was not under investigation then.


32 posted on 08/29/2009 12:17:18 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: HamiltonJay

“Yep, people were dying in the brackish water of NO, but the person swiping a few dozen beer bottles and wading through the sewage were the problem.”

I didn’t say they were the main problem, Thick, I said that more than government people belonged in jail contrary to your narrow view.


33 posted on 08/29/2009 7:27:02 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: Cicero

It was an act of naked, ugly utilitarianism.


34 posted on 08/29/2009 7:28:42 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: normanpubbie

Evidence blah blah. When did prove-ability count more than principle?


35 posted on 08/29/2009 7:30:01 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: RichInOC

That’s how I view it. The “doc” admitted intent when he said he was trying to get rid of her to free the nurses or some such poppycock.


36 posted on 08/29/2009 7:31:33 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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