Strange Musings *hyuk*
Thursday, October 13, 2005
  8:39 AM — CNN: New Orleans hospital may have performed "mercy killings"
Holy fuck.

[Dr. Bryant] King said, the second-floor triage area where he was working was cleared of everyone except patients, a second hospital administrator and two doctors, including the physician who had first raised the question of mercy killing.

King said the administrator asked those who remained if they wanted to join in prayer -- something he said had not occurred at the hospital since Katrina ripped through the city.

One of the physicians then produced a handful of syringes, King said.

"I don't know what's in the syringes. ... The only thing I heard the physician say was, 'I'm going to give you something to make you feel better,' " King said.

"I don't know what the physician was going to give them, but we hadn't been given medications like that, to make people feel better, or any sort of palliative care," he said. "We hadn't been doing that up to this point."

King said he decided he would have no part of what he believed was about to happen. He grabbed his bag to leave. He said one of the doctors hugged him.

King said he doesn't know what happened next. He boarded a boat and left the hospital.
The coroner said the attorney general's office has requested autopsies but, because of the condition of the bodies, it may be difficult to determine why so many patients died at Memorial.

Tenet Healthcare, the company that owns Memorial, told CNN that most of the 45 patients who died were critically ill.

Tenet said about 11 patients had died the weekend before the hurricane and were placed in the morgue.

Twenty-four of the dead had been patients of an acute care facility known as LifeCare that rented space inside Memorial.

But King said he finds it hard to understand how that many patients could have died at the hospital, even under such grim conditions.

"There was only one patient that died overnight," he said. "The previous day, there were only two. From Thursday to Friday, for there to be 10 times that many, just doesn't make sense to me."


The other individuals involved have said "no comment," but if Dr. King is right, it's scary. I am not against euthanasia in general, and I understand their reasoning - these people were in pain, dying, with no care available and no clue of when there would be - but I am against it in this specific case: I feel (I don't have evidence) these patients could've made it out, so if their deaths were purposeful, it's absolutely horrible. Worse, as Dr. King tells the story the patients were NEVER given a choice! It's murder, not a mercy killing. The whole point to assisted suicide is that it's SUICIDE with a little help.

This is an astounding story. I agree, if true this a case of multiple homicides.
When you think of it, though, "triage" operations often involve just leaving the dying people to die with no palliative care or even possible intervention. I am not sure if I draw such a distinction between purposefully leaving someone to their certain death, and injecting them with a syringe.

A lot of people in those hospitals would have been of the type who weren't "going to die if they didn't get help soon" but rather "going to die because they didn't get help yesterday." And if there was no palliative care... and those people were already going fuzzy... it's not something I'd do, but it's something I wouldn't consider premeditated homicide.
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