Killing patients in New Orleans

Killing patients in New Orleans

I had heard reports that doctors and nurses in hospitals and makeshift clinics set up in the field have had to perform triage, i.e. deciding which patients should get medical care and supplies, when time and supplies were both running out. That’s tragic, but understandable.

It’s also a world away from taking active steps to euthanize patients, but that’s exactly what was happening too.

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leave them to die in agony as they evacuated.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

One New Orleans doctor told how she “prayed for God to have mercy on her soul” after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save.

What do the looters and rapists have to do with giving critical care to patients? This is where we’ve come in a post-Terri Schiavo world. The Hippocratic oath, which has essentially been meaningless since they stripped out the admonition not to perform abortions, is now in tatters, part of the flotsam and jetsam that was one the Gulf Coast.

I hope that, but don’t expect, the authorities will conduct an investigation and bring to justice those who committed murder, because that’s what this is. Doctors, who have been given the power of life and death and yet have been stripped of any sense that there is an objective morality, made active decisions about who would live and who would die.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli