I was interested to
read today about the staff of this hospital in New Orleans who are on murder charges, accused of killing patients stranded by last years floods following Hurricane Katrina.
A doctor and two nurses are suspected of giving lethal injections of morphine to four patients.
One can only imagine how horrific it must have been to be the medical staff stranded in the hospital, in some peril themselves, surrounded by dependents.
The New York Times reports: "At Memorial, evacuation efforts faltered, emergency generators could not support air conditioning and temperatures inside the building exceeded 100 degrees."
The investigation comes after a doctor told CNN that while he did not see any killings, he had heard "something happend that should not have happened".
All kinds of civic structures collapsed during the hurricane: federal government, arguably local government, law enforcement. New Orleans became a nightmareish place. I have some sympathy with calls for reform of euthanasia laws, but would obviously not support any attempt to characterise these as "mercy killings".
A poster on Bettnet.com writes that the initial reports about the deaths at the hospital was couched in a tone of regard for heroic actions.
I don't know the full facts of the patients' conditions and whether they could have survivied evacuation, but it would have to be a very grim scenario indeed to justify killing patients. It would be terrible if the civic meltdown of the city extended to the Memorial Medical Centre.